Can Trade Agreements Facilitate the Free Flow of Information: The Trans-Pacific Partnership as a Case Study

Organized by
The Institute for International Economic Policy

In partnership with:
The Computer Communications Industry Association
The Heinrich Boell Foundation
and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

12:00 to 1:30pm

Elliott School of International Affairs
Lindner Commons, 6th Floor
1957 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20052

Jonathan McHale, Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce Policy, Office of the United States Trade Representative
Jayme White, Staff Director, Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, United States Senate
Usman Ahmed, Policy Counsel, eBay, Inc.
Rashni Rangnath, Director, Global Knowledge Initiative at Public Knowledge


President Obama has described the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as the first 21st century trade agreement. These negotiations are particularly important to advocates of an open Internet. The U.S. wants its TPP negotiating partners to accept language designed to protect intellectual property online, to encourage regulatory transparency for Internet governance, and to ensure open access to digital goods, applications, consumers, devices, networks, and information. Other governments have a different vision. Currently, although several non-profit U.S. bodies oversee technical specifications and the domain name system, international multi-stakeholder groups collaborate to maintain the free flow of information on the web. However, Russia, China and several other nations want to use “the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International Telecommunication Union,” a U.N. agency, to regulate the Internet. They believe the current system is too ad hoc, U.S.-centric, and does not allow national policymakers to restrict the free flow of information when such officials deem it appropriate. This discussion will examine what the U.S. is proposing. Representatives from the private sector, the Internet advocacy community, and the Senate Finance Committee will present their views on the implications of these provisions for the future of the Internet.

Beverages will be provided.

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