Unveiling “Digital Trade” Threats to Tech Oversight

The largest online platforms , like Google and Amazon, and their myriad lobbying associations and front groups have lobbied to capture trade negotiations to insert binding trade-agreement terms that would derail countries’ online privacy, competition, artificial intelligence, right to repair, civil rights and other policies. The companies’ goal is to lock in their outsized power and preempt efforts to regulate the digital economy in the public interest now underway on a bipartisan basis in the U.S. Congress and by the Biden administration and governments worldwide.

Because trade negotiations are secretive and technical, and countries must conform their domestic policies to the resulting rules, special interests are pushing this international preemption strategy in dozens of “digital trade,” “e-commerce,” or “digital economy” agreements now being negotiated. 

Policymakers, smaller businesses, civil society, and the public at large have caught on and are  weighing in to preserve the policy space necessary to promote a digital economy that respects civil and labor rights, privacy, fair competition, and more.  

Rethink Trade provides expert analysis through reports, policy briefs, and events to educate the public and policymakers to promote a fair digital future.

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