Kelly: Free data flow should be part of Trans-Pacific Partnership

As negotiations continue on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) is leading a bipartisan effort to make sure free data flow is part of any final agreement.

Kelly co-authored a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman with Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) on Friday calling on “binding obligations” to be included in TPP negotiations so global markets remain open to digital products, services and cross-border data flows.

Kelly said those are all key areas of U.S. competitiveness.

“The free flow of information and open markets to new products and services throughout the world are constant, essential components to America’s economic strength,” Kelly said. “In the 21st century global economy, digital trade is a rapidly growing engine for innovation, business growth and job creation here at home. It must be protected and permitted to flourish.”

The Obama administration is negotiating with 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

“The United States must champion such protections for free data flow in the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and insist that they are included in any final agreement,” Kelly said.

Kelly and Kind’s letter had 55 bipartisan signatories from Congress, including House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and ranking member Sander Levin (D-Mich.).