USTR Tai Praised for Defending Privacy, Workers & Civil Rights in “Digital Trade” Negotiations

Civil society groups across a range of sectors sent a letter to President Biden praising U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai for withdrawing U.S. support for Trump-era “digital trade” proposals that would have undermined privacy, worker rights and AI accountability.
“Good-paying jobs, civil rights and personal privacy are all at stake in the so-called ‘digital trade’ debate.  We deeply appreciate President Biden and Ambassador Tai standing firm in support of a worker-centered trade agenda that preserves space for needed public interest policies,” said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign.
“As policymakers start paying more and more attention to the oversized role Big Tech plays in our society, the industry is attempting to use trade agreements as a backdoor means of restricting future consumer privacy, AI accountability and anti-monopoly policies here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of U.S. PIRG. “Consumer advocates join the many voices thanking Ambassador Tai for fending off Big Tech’s ‘digital trade’ sneak attack on sound public interest policies.”
The letter’s 41 organizational signers include: Accountable Tech, AI Now Institute, Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Consumer Federation of America, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Family Farm Coalition, National Organization for Women, Public Citizen, Rethink Trade, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Tech Oversight Project, Trade Justice Education Fund, United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, U.S. PIRG and others.
The groups together commended USTR Tai for “leading the update of ‘digital trade’ rules to provide the policy space necessary for our nation to enact urgently needed policies on Big Tech competition, gig worker rights, online consumer privacy and data security protections, and AI accountability measures.”
Earlier, more than 50 consumer and digital rights organizations in other countries wrote to their governments expressing support for the Biden administration’s decision and urging their governments to follow suit.