The United States leads the world in the development, production, and use of information technology (IT). Because IT is not only the major driver of economic growth but also a key source of high-paying jobs in sectors like semiconductors, hardware, services, and software, most countries have adopted policies to win the international competition for IT jobs. While most have adopted legitimate policies such as research and development (R&D) tax credits, programs to build IT skills, and liberalizing domestic markets, the payoffs from this path to IT industry competitiveness are neither certain nor immediate. As a result, many nations have turned to an easier and faster path to winning the global competition for IT leadership: erecting a whole host of unfair and protectionist policies focused on systematically disadvantaging foreign, including U.S., companies in global competition. These policies include:
- raising the relative price of foreign IT products and services by applying tariffs, taxes, subsidies, and excessive antitrust enforcement;
- acquiring foreign IT products and services without paying for them through digital theft and forcing U.S. companies to give up their intellectual property; and/or
- blocking or limiting access of foreign companies to markets through standards, government procurement, data privacy and other policies.
Perhaps most troubling is that nearly all of the nations engaging in these unfair and distorting trade practices targeting U.S. IT leadership are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and signatories of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). These nations and regions-from Asia, Europe, and South America-have aggressively put in place strategies th