Press Releases

DelBene Leads Bipartisan Effort to Protect American Workers and Businesses from New Tariffs at WTO Conference

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Darin LaHood (IL-16), along with Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith (NE-03) and Ranking Member Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), led a bipartisan coalition of 32 members of Congress in calling on U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to push for the renewal of a longstanding agreement that prevents new tariffs and other trade barriers on digital goods and services, which would harm American workers and businesses.

In a bipartisan letter, the lawmakers urged the Biden administration to prioritize renewing the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions during the thirteenth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13).

“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 for the first time in a quarter century 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. The Moratorium is particularly beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs who use digital tools to reach new customers overseas and cannot set up physical operations in every country in which they sell in order to avoid duties imposed on electronic transmissions.”

Since 1998, the U.S. and all other WTO members have agreed not to 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 full text of the letter can be found here.