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Consumers Welcome News That USTR Will Not Criticize Allies for Protecting Privacy and Competition

Big Tech Feigns Horror As U.S. Unsurprisingly Brings Trade Policy in Line With Domestic Tech Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Trade Representative’s National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE report), due this month, is expected to omit its usual criticism of trade partners’ online privacy and competition regulation.

Global Trade Watch Director Melinda St. Louis issued the following statement in response: 

“Big Tech lobbyists’ preemptive meltdown over the upcoming NTE report tells you all you need to know: They are accustomed to dictating to USTR their long list of gripes with other countries’ laws, and having those grievances regurgitated in the NTE report without balancing the concerns of workers, consumers, and the public in the U.S. and around the globe.

“The Biden administration’s executive orders — designed to regulate the tech industry and protect the public from AI harms, promote competition and keep sensitive data secure — are highly popular with the American public. It only makes sense, then, to ensure that our trade policy does not interfere with those efforts and to refrain from calling out other governments for doing the same. 

“In our globalized world, it is in our interest to ensure that other countries are able to regulate the rapidly changing tech landscape. It will be welcome news if the NTE report is no longer a weapon for Big Tech companies to attack other countries for enacting policies to protect their populations.”

Background: Administrations of both parties have long used the NTE report to parrot the demands of Big Tech and other behemoth corporate interests, without sufficient regard to the public interest. Past reports have admonished the predominantly Muslim country of Malaysia for “requiring that slaughter plants maintain dedicated halal facilities and ensure segregated transportation for halal and non-halal products.” They have repeatedly attacked other countries’ policies to promote breastfeeding by reigning in aggressive formula marketing campaigns. The NTE report has targeted popular health programs to control medicine costs, financial regulations requiring banks to hold adequate capital, patent standards requiring that a medicine’s utility be demonstrated, and taxes on sugary beverages and junk foods that apply to domestic and foreign firms equally.