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

Tech industry pushes Congress to pass Trump's North American trade pact
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The U.S. tech industry is pushing Congress to pass President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem 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."

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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 PelosiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Klobuchar: 'I have seen no reason why' Hunter Biden would need to testify Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' 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 MnuchinOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive White House to add two aides to lead impeachment messaging 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."