Digital Trade and the Impact of Barriers to Digital Trade on the Competitiveness of U.S. Firms in International Markets Will Be Focus of Three New USITC Investigations

February 6, 2017
News Release 17-024
Inv. No. 332-561
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
Digital Trade and the Impact of Barriers to Digital Trade on the Competitiveness of U.S. Firms in International Markets Will Be Focus of Three New USITC Investigations

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) will conduct three investigations to examine uses of new digital technologies for U.S. firms and the impact of barriers to digital trade on the competitiveness of U.S. firms in international markets.

The investigations were requested by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in a letter received on January 13, 2017. The letter noted that the three new reports would provide an update and extension of the analysis presented in two earlier USITC reports: Digital Trade in the U.S. and Global Economies, Part I (July 2013) and Digital Trade in the U.S. and Global Economies, Part 2 (August 2014), which were completed at the request of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will conduct three investigations and provide three reports to the USTR. One report will be public, and two reports will be confidential.

  • The first investigation, Global Digital Trade I: Market Opportunities and Key Foreign Trade Restrictions, will describe the current landscape and recent developments in digital technologies used by firms, as well as digital technologies used by consumers. It will also provide market information for digital products and services both in the United States and in key foreign markets such as the European Union, China, Russia, Brazil, India, and Indonesia -- especially those products and services that can scale globally. The investigation will assess the rate of adoption of digital technologies in the United States as well as in foreign markets with further study of the importance of both domestic and cross-border data-flows. Finally, the report will describe regulatory and policy measures in important markets abroad that may impede digital trade. The report will be delivered to USTR by August 29, 2017, and released to the public soon thereafter.

  • The second investigation will analyze measures that affect the ability of U.S. firms to develop or supply digital products and services to firms abroad.  It also will assess the impact of those measures on the competitiveness of U.S. firms supplying digital products and services and on international trade and investment flows associated with digital trade. This report will be confidential and will be delivered to USTR by October 28, 2018. More details about this report will be available when it is formally instituted.

  • The third investigation will analyze measures that affect the ability of U.S. firms to develop or supply digital products and services to consumers abroad.  It also will assess the impact of those measures on the competitiveness of U.S. firms supplying digital products and services and on international trade and investment flows associated with digital trade. This report will be confidential and will be delivered to USTR by March 29, 2019. More details about this report will be available when it is formally instituted.

The USITC has instituted the first investigation.

The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on April 4, 2017. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 21, 2017, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. For further information, call 202-205-2000.

The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date, but no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 21, 2017. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

Further information on the scope of the first investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the USITC's notice of investigation, dated February 6, 2017, which can be obtained from the USITC Internet site (https://www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-2000.

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons. 

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