Tech industry pushes Congress to pass Trump's North American trade pact

Tech industry pushes Congress to pass Trump's North American trade pact
© Getty Images

The U.S. tech industry is pushing Congress to pass President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE's revised North American trade pact, arguing the stalled legislation would modernize trade law to accommodate the digital economy.

A broad coalition of tech trade groups in a letter Monday argued the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rewrite includes language that would "set a new, global standard for rules that will benefit digital trade and e-commerce."

ADVERTISEMENT

The industry effort comes as lawmakers return to Washington this week from their August recess.

"NAFTA 2.0," also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is one of Trump's top legislative priorities for the fall. Democrats have refused to take up the trade deal without measures to strengthen some of its labor and environmental standards.

Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse passes bill aimed at bolstering Holocaust education Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions MORE of California, have expressed concerns that the USMCA does not go far enough in protecting U.S. workers and the environment. They've also argued the legislation could raise drug prices for consumers.

The tech industry, meanwhile, has rallied behind the USMCA by backing the provisions that offer intellectual property and data protections.

The signatories of Monday's letter include the Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google and Amazon; the Consumer Technology Association; the Computing Technology Industry Association; and the Information Technology Industry Council.

"Passing the USMCA would be a significant step not only towards guaranteeing the leadership of North America in the global digital economy, but also towards establishing a worldwide framework to address the challenges confronting global access and usage of digital trade," the trade groups wrote.

The tech industry's support for the USMCA comes amid opposition from other stakeholders such as labor unions.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Report of Bolton tell-all manuscript roils Trump defense Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg Mnuchin: US 'focused' on reaching trade deal with UK by end of year MORE told Fox Business Network on Monday that passing the trade deal is at "the top of our agenda."

In a statement, the Internet Association's director of trade policy, Jordan Haas, said, "The time is now for Congress to pass USMCA, a trade agreement that reflects our 21st century economy."