Reps. DelBene, Paulsen Launch Digital Trade Caucus

Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) have launched the Digital Trade Caucus to help small businesses reach big digital markets worldwide.

Among the aims of the new caucus is to promote "a free and open Internet." It comes days after FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced his plans for reclassifying ISPs as information service providers (no longer under Title II mandatory access rules) and rethinking the FCC's Open Internet order.

But the caucus's focus is on trade, new markets and new customers for U.S. goods.

It's other goals are:

"Promote free cross-border data flows; Eliminate data localization requirements; Ensure trading partners allow open online and cloud platforms by not requiring them to filter speech; Eliminate requirements that businesses transfer technology, source code or encryption keys; And address customs and trade facilitation barriers for e-commerce."

"The internet and our nation's leadership in technology and innovation are under threat abroad like never before. The Congressional Digital Trade Caucus can stand at the forefront of our efforts to fight back," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association. "It will help ensure that the administration's stated goal of strengthening trade agreements - for instance by adding provisions on cross border data flows, fair use and intermediary liability protections - will become a new standard for negotiations. U.S. trade policy must be inclusive and create opportunities not only for large companies, but small businesses and workers in all industries."

ITI and the Internet Association applauded the caucus and encouraged more legislators to sign up.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.