The state of tech: Our top 5 for 2020

The state of tech: Our top 5 for 2020
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The U.S. technology industry exemplifies the American Dream, employing more than 7 million Americans and contributing $1.6 trillion annually to our economy. Whether it’s an app that can monitor your heart rate or a vehicle that detects hazards as you drive, the products and services created by U.S. innovators have revolutionized the way people work, communicate, and go about their daily lives.

To ensure our industry can continue to define what’s possible, it’s important that the U.S. government continues to foster an environment spurred by innovation. President Donald Trump has an opportunity to outline his administration’s efforts during his State of the Union address.

ITI encourages President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Anderson Cooper: Trump's Bubba Wallace tweet was 'racist, just plain and simple' Beats by Dre announces deal with Bubba Wallace, defends him after Trump remarks Overnight Defense: DOD reportedly eyeing Confederate flag ban | House military spending bill blocks wall funding MORE to highlight the priorities and initiatives that will continue to transform the lives of all Americans and ensure the United States can stay on the cutting-edge of technological leadership. 

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Here are the top 5 issues we’re listening for on Tuesday night:

  1. Trade truce.The “phase one” deal between the United States and China is a significant accomplishment for American consumers and businesses. It begins to roll back harmful tariffs, increases IP and tech transfer protections for U.S. firms in China, further opens China’s financial markets, and stabilizes this critical trade relationship. While this is important and encouraging news, more work remains. President Trump should make clear that he is working toward a substantive, lasting final deal that ends the remaining tariffs on Chinese goods and fully addresses long-standing barriers that U.S. companies face in the Chinese market, such as licensing issues in cloud computing that prevent cloud services providers from operating independently. Beyond China, the U.S. can effectively negotiate important digital trade provisions that promote cross-border data flows and protect against protectionist anti-innovation government policies, as evidenced by the newly enacted U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The president can offer an update on efforts to secure such digital trade agreements with economies like the European Union, United Kingdom, India, and more. 
  1. Protecting consumers, safeguarding data, and restoring user trust through federal privacy legislation. The lack of a national privacy law is the single biggest obstacle to answering U.S. consumer demands to protect their data. To provide meaningful privacy protections for consumers, the U.S. Congress must pass federal privacy legislation that enhances transparency, increases consumer control, promotes security, and manages privacy risk. We hope President Trump joins this call and urges Congress to create a single uniform federal standard that protects consumers and supports continued U.S. innovation.
  1. Fostering economic growth and job creation with a plan to modernize U.S. transportation and infrastructure.In an age where everything from cars and public transportation to public services and utilities is connected to the internet, the United States’ ability to integrate smart technologies with traditional infrastructure systems is essential for improving safety, maximizing economic productivity and energy efficiency, and enhancing quality of life. President Trump has previously stated his commitment to advancing efforts that help cities and communities leverage smart technologies and deploy effective, sustainable infrastructure solutions to the benefit of their citizens — we hope he reiterates this pledge during his address.
  1. Strengthening the skills of America’s workforce by investing in the STEM workforce.Nearly 80 percent of the fastest growing jobs are reliant on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and computer science knowledge and skills. As the workplace evolves and millions of new jobs are created, ensuring current and future U.S. workers have the tools they need to get a well-paying job is a national imperative that requires immediate attention. The Trump administration has taken important steps to address this growing need across the country. With support from ITI member companies, its “Pledge to America’s Workers” creates new opportunities for all American communities to get the training and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century workforce. But more must be done to close a growing skills gap. President Trump should remind public and private sectors that this must be a collaborative effort, and offer support to advance apprenticeships, education, and training programs in these fields for current and future workers in all U.S. communities. The administration should also propose immigration policies to ensure the United States attracts the best and the brightest from around the world to attend U.S. colleges and universities and then create U.S. jobs and opportunities through their entrepreneurial innovation.
  1. Incentivizing innovation by deploying spectrum and 5G networks and expanding broadband access across the United States. Last year, President Trump promised to advance the United States’ industries of the future, and his administration took actions in response, including to create an Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence. We look forward to hearing the president describe how his team will build on its commitment to develop and deploy innovative technologies, in particularefforts to make new spectrum available and incentivize investment in wireless broadband networks so that it reaches Americans in all communities and closes the digital divide. Progress has been made, but more can be done to free unused spectrum and promote a global marketplace so the U.S. doesn’t fall behind on 5G network deployment.

We encourage the president to capitalize on this moment and share his vision to improve U.S. leadership on innovation. Our industry remains committed to working with his administration and the U.S. Congress to help make that vision a reality.

Jason Oxman is president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI).