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Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade’s Meeting on Internet Protectionism
September 19, 2014


    On September 17, 2014, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the House Energy and Commerce Committee met for a hearing on protectionism in cross border data flows.  Data flows involve any transfer of information over the internet, such as an email or a file.  There is concern that forced localization, which requires companies to store information at local data centers, would harm the U.S. economy and exclude smaller businesses who could not afford to comply with the regulations. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, digital exports were $357.40 billion in 2011, which made up 17% of the total U.S. exports.  There are also additional security risks with localizing vast amounts of data.  In Representative Lee Terry’s opening statement to the subcommittee against protectionism, he stated that the U.S. already has security measures in place that protect information and intellectual property.

    During the hearing, Brian Bieron, the Executive Director of the Global Public Policy Lab for eBay Inc. spoke to the committee about the negative effects of internet protectionism.  He affirmed that “restrictions would greatly limit the many benefits of the Internet.”  Furthermore, the European Centre for International Policy Economy estimates that the restrictions could negatively affect these countries’ GDP from -.1% to -1.7%.

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