Press Releases

DelBene, LaHood Lead Bipartisan Push for White House to Protect American Companies, Workers Against New Tariffs at WTO Conference

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Washington, D.C., June 13, 2022 | comments

Today, Digital Trade Caucus Co-Chairs Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Darin LaHood (IL-18) led a bipartisan effort calling on World Trade Organization (WTO) members to renew a longstanding agreement that bars new tariffs and other trade barriers on digital goods and digital services that would harm American companies and workers.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, 34 House lawmakers pushed the Biden administration to make renewing the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions one of its top priorities at the twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) this week in Geneva. 

“The international flow of digital goods and digital services has become increasingly vital to American workers and businesses of all sizes, including the countless small businesses that use digital tools to export products and services across the globe. Failing to renew the Moratorium, as we have done for more than twenty years, would undermine the strength of the American economy, jobs, and innovation,” the lawmakers wrote. “If the Moratorium is not renewed, governments around the world would be free to impose tariffs and other trade barriers on numerous American industries that transmit products and services electronically and rely heavily on the free flow of data around the globe, including manufacturing, agriculture, entertainment, software, financial services, semiconductors, aerospace, autos, robotics, and medical devices.”

Since 1998, the U.S. and all other WTO members have agreed to not impose tariffs on electronic transmissions. The moratorium has consistently been extended at WTO ministerial conferences ever since. The U.S. has been a consistent advocate for the moratorium.

The moratorium covers electronic transmissions of both digital goods (e.g., e-books, music, movies, and video games) and digital services (e.g., software, emails, and text messages), enabling a stable environment for growing digital trade and American jobs.

The letter to Ambassador Tai can be found here

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