TTIP: Trade in the Digital Economy

About the Author

Mike Corkerry

Executive Director, EMEA Government Affairs, AT&T

Friday 6th December 2013, To enable the transition to next-generation connected services and networks – which will be defined by Mobile broadband, IP and Cloud — we need future-focused regulatory models and consistent policy approaches across regions.  This brings me to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The aim of the ambitious TTIP is to liberalise, as much as possible, trade and investment between the economies by reducing non-tariff barriers and harmonising regulatory standards that inhibit trade and add to the cost of doing business.

Despite economic turbulence and sluggish economies on both sides of the Atlantic, the U.S. and Europe remain each other’s most important markets.  A comprehensive trade agreement could encourage additional investments on both sides of the Atlantic. The European Commission has estimated TTIP could boost the EU economy by €120 billion yearly and offer returns to every household – expected to be about €545 per year per family in Europe.

Of course, you cannot have a 21st century trade agreement without addressing global communications issues, given that communication services enable the trade of so many other industries.  In 2011, the EU and U.S. developed a set of non-binding trade-related principles for information and communication technology services that provide guideposts for digital economy issues.  Each of the principles expresses an approach to policy and regulation in the information and communications technology sector that is broadly shared by both sides.

For AT&T, key trade issues include ensuring cross-border networks and cross-border data flows.  Cross-border technologies, such as cloud computing and mobile commerce, have enabled a new age of global efficiency and created a global marketplace.  No global or multinational corporation is set up as a patchwork of individual-country hermetically sealed entities with every function replicated in each country – rather, they are set up with global functions that share information and work across time zones and borders.  The ability to move data has become the lifeblood of international commerce.

The more steps we can take to minimise the fragmentation and barriers, the more the digital economy can achieve its potential to contribute to economic growth.  Only economies that embrace the digital revolution will prosper in a world where productivity, innovation, and efficiency will increasingly depend on reliable, mobile, and ubiquitous access to powerful, cloud-based information and information processing capabilities.

Tags: AT&TbroadbandcloudcomputingConnecteddataeuropean commissionglobalICTinnovationIPmobilepolicyproductivityregulationregulatorystandardstechnologytransatlanticTTIP

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