OnQ Blog

A more level playing field for ICT companies in the Trans-Pacific region

Few industries are as international in scope as the mobile and information communications and telecommunications (ICT) sectors, a fact that positions Qualcomm and others in the ICT industries among the benefactors of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Once the treaty takes effect, American customers of ICT products will benefit from what amounts to a tax cut as tariffs on some overseas goods are reduced, and U.S. ICT workers will get more of a level playing field as some rival economies overseas are required to play by the same rules.

By 2020, the Asia Pacific region is projected to account for 56% of global smartphone sales.

Mobile is a vibrant element of the U.S. economy, employing more than a million Americans and generating more than 3% of U.S. gross domestic product. On the other side of the Pacific, mobile technology is both a key factor in economic growth and a key sector benefitting from that growth. By 2020, the Asia Pacific region is projected to account for 56% of global smartphone sales.

The TPP is expected to boost these and other industries by advancing alignment of trade regimes among the TPP partners and improving the commercial opportunities for mobile companies, workers, and innovators, including Qualcomm.

 Earning the title of the “first digital trade agreement,” the Trans-Pacific Partnership includes:

  • Strong intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement provisions
  • Greater regulatory transparency
  • Measures to enhance global trade in ICT products and services

The strengthening of IP rights

The TPP IP agreements may be the most significant, comprehensive set of IP provisions in any trade agreement, building on the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the IP chapter of the U.S. Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS)—both applauded by Qualcomm at the time of their adoption. Patents, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets underpin the ability of Qualcomm and other ICT companies to invest years and billions of dollars in research and development to innovate, knowing the resulting inventions will be protected from theft.

So we enthusiastically support the anticipated strong and enforceable intellectual property protections, the enhanced protection for proprietary information against disclosure, the criminalization of trade secrets theft, and updated provisions targeting government involvement in piracy and cyber theft expected in TPP.

Regulatory compatibility and global, interoperable standards

Technology is borderless, and U.S. technology solutions are maximized by regulatory compatibility and global, interoperable standards. The TPP includes an entirely new chapter concerning regulatory transparency, assessing the impact of regulations, and promoting coordination on new regulations within governments. Advancing internal coordination of rule-making across governments in TPP parties through a more open and transparent regulatory environment should produce more effective, more legitimate, and less costly rules for companies.

Enhanced global trade in semiconductors

We also understand that there will be zero tariffs on all industrial products, including many ICT products covered by the original WTO Information Technology Agreement, which has enhanced global trade in semiconductors. A guarantee that more countries remove tariffs on semiconductors is good for Qualcomm and many of our handset-making customers’ business.  

At Qualcomm, we look forward to reviewing the final text of the TPP once it is published in the coming weeks and working to support domestic ratification by the U.S. Congress and all the TPP governments.

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