Software group decries protectionism

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BSA warned that the trade barriers are having a "contagion effect" that emboldens other countries to adopt their own protectionist measures.

The group explained that the trade barriers include tariffs, restrictions on technology that government agencies can buy, regulations that mandate the use of local products and a requirement that cloud computing data centers be located within a country.

Many countries erect trade barriers to allow their own domestic technology sector to grow without foreign competition. Additionally, many countries adopt technology regulations over concerns that foreign products could pose a security risk.

In the United States, the House Intelligence Committee has launched an investigation of Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE over fears that their products could make the United States vulnerable to cyberattacks or espionage. 

But BSA argued that the free flow of software boosts the global economy and claimed that, in the long-run, protectionist policies can backfire by depriving the country of technologies that can be a catalyst for other innovations and economic growth.

The group urged the United States to use trade agreements to pressure countries to abandon their protectionist policies.

"The US, Europe, and other governments should urgently elevate these market-access concerns in bilateral, multilateral, and regional trade discussions," the group wrote.