Ranking Member Rangel Opening Statement at Trade Subcommittee Hearing on U.S. Digital Trade and U.S. Digital Exports

Jul 13, 2016
Press Release

(Remarks as prepared)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And welcome to all of our witnesses – I’m looking forward to hearing your testimony.

Gone are the days where trade simply meant reducing tariffs and limiting quotas for imported products. Trade policy now addresses much more difficult issues – as one can see by the length of modern trade agreements.

One of the biggest areas of expansion has been on issues related to digital trade. U.S. trade policy now addresses issues such as cross-border data flows and forced localization policies that some countries have implemented to force companies to store data within their own borders.

These digital trade policies have been endorsed by a wide range of stakeholders. Not only have these provisions been applauded because of their commercial significance, but many NGOs, think tanks, and academics have also praised the provisions because of their impact on maintaining a free and open internet. This is one of the few areas in international trade policy where one can find very broad agreement.

But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. The public debate on trade today touches on a much broader range of issues, and on much bigger and more controversial issues, than the digital trade issues we will discuss today. These issues range from who actually benefits from trade and our trade agreements, to whether we have the infrastructure and training programs in place to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise as a result of our trade agreements.

We need to be much more focused than we have been on addressing these bigger picture issues if we want to begin reestablishing a consensus and bipartisanship on trade.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.