The House has voted to approve the compromise USMCA trade bill.
It now goes to the Senate for ratification.
The bill includes first-of-its-kind, cutting-edge digital trade provisions," according to tech group ITI. Those include promoting cross-border data flows, allowing data storage "where it makes most sense," preventing tariffs and tech taxes, protecting source code and algorithms by disallowing divulging those as a condition of doing business, and creating consistent testing and certification of tech goods.
“The North American Free Trade Agreement received a welcomed update in the form of USMCA, bringing the agreement into the digital age with strong rules that are critical to the continued growth of the Internet economy," said CCIA president Ed Black. "We applaud House Leadership for working with the Administration to get a deal, and the House of Representatives for their votes today. We encourage the Senate to move quickly in the new year on USMCA.”
"We applaud the House’s swift vote today on USMCA—the new NAFTA," said Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro. "The Senate now needs to do its part—carry this critical free trade agreement across the finish line and vote on final passage.
"In addition to facilitating trade with our neighboring countries, the new NAFTA’s digital trade provisions – importantly intermediary liability protections, forced data localization prohibitions and balanced copyright provisions – are especially critical for small businesses. They will provide a solid platform for expanding trade and investment around the innovative technology products America is known for."
"The USMCA reflects the importance of data, technology, and innovation to the North American economy,” said ITI president Jason Oxman.
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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.