When you’re a global company whose technology not only transcends borders but can make geography irrelevant, increased international trade is a good thing.
That’s why Qualcomm applauded the announcement earlier this month by trade ministers meeting in Atlanta that the United States and 11 other countries concluded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The TPP will advance the deepening economic alignment of the region – around the Pacific Rim from South America to Australia -- and improve the commercial opportunities for mobile companies, workers and innovators, including Qualcomm.
Conclusion of the biggest regional trade deal in history is a major win for the global economy and the U.S. technology sector. We support the TPP because it will spur innovation in the 12 parties to the agreement and the broader region. And by expanding market access for technology products, strengthening the protection of intellectual property and enhancing regulatory transparency, the TPP will create jobs, foster new market opportunities and help bring advanced mobile technologies and services to more consumers and businesses.
So we congratulated United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and the other trade ministers and negotiators for their vision, hard work and persistence. And we look forward to reviewing the final text once it is published and working to support domestic ratification by all the TPP governments.
But we already know some important facts about the TPP, which has been in the news a lot and generated political debate in Washington and on the campaign trail. And what we’re certain about is that the TPP should help Qualcomm unlock new markets by setting high-standards for the global digital economy of the 21st century across one of the fastest-growing regions of the world.
We expect the text of the TPP agreement to contain several new features, including rules that prevent market-access restrictions on commercial products with encryption; requirements to ensure cross-border data flows; rules against localization requirements for computer and server infrastructure; and non-discriminatory treatment of electronically transmitted digital products. Other key provisions included are simplification and harmonization of customs and trade procedures; commitments that ensure state-owned enterprises will compete fairly and transparently without undue government advantage; and new procedural safeguards and increased penalties to protect trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property.
The agreement also has a provision that requires TPP members to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a key trade pact that eliminates tariffs on tech products. Qualcomm and other semiconductor companies have been among the largest beneficiaries of the WTO ITA. The semiconductor industry directly employs nearly a quarter of a million people in the United States. In 2014, U.S. semiconductor company sales totaled $173 billion, and semiconductors are the key ingredient of the global trillion-dollar electronics industry.
Now that the TPP negotiations have concluded, it is up to each country to secure domestic support. In the U.S. that will start when President Barack Obama formally submits the agreement to Congress. Under U.S. law, once that happens, the entire text of the agreement will be publicly available online for public review at least 60 days before the agreement is signed. Afterwards, at the President’s discretion he will send a legislative package to Congress vote on the agreement.
At Qualcomm, we are eager to see this process unfold and the Trans-Pacific region start to profit from the TPP.