Last week, I had the privilege of participating in the Trans-Atlantic Policy Network’s annual Trans-Atlantic Week event in Washington, D.C. AT&T supports the Trans-Atlantic Policy Network, or TPN as it’s known, for its continuing and constructive dialogue about fostering the closest possible partnership between the European Union and the United States.
The trans-Atlantic partnership remains strong and its ideals have become a model for the global community. The trans-Atlantic economy is also the largest and most prosperous in the world. Yet, it is important to further strengthen the social and economic ties that bind us.
Our world is being ever more closely knit together by digital communications technology. This technology will be one of the essential levers of a full and durable economic recovery and a key driver of high value job growth and future prosperity. On both sides of the Atlantic, our productivity, competitiveness, and well-being will increasingly turn on how well connected we are, and how effectively we are putting information to use. Economies that embrace this information and communications revolution improve their chances of prospering.
Without doubt, an increasingly interconnected world raises challenging policy questions. Finding the right answers may not always be easy, but we know the right answer is not isolation, fragmentation, or delay.
Digital technologies are by their nature global. We need interoperable global frameworks to foster and advance them, and to promote the enormous investments that sustain them. There is no better place to set this standard than in the trans-Atlantic relationship, where we share so much common ground. And a comprehensive and ambitious Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) can provide a clear pathway to creating the right framework.
T-TIP provides a significant opportunity to create economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic if we get the substance and details of the agreement right. Working together on ambitious, common objectives will strengthen our closely interrelated economic future. This trade agreement gives us an opportunity to address difficult issues in order to realize the full gains of the digital economy and to set a model for the rest of the world.
The good news is that we already have a roadmap in place for information and communications technology (ICT). In 2011, the US and EU developed a set of non-binding, trade-related principles for ICT services that provide guideposts for digital economy issues. Each of the principles expresses an approach to policy and regulation in the ICT sector that is broadly shared by the U.S. and the EU.
Technology is limited mainly by the barriers we create. The U.S. and the EU should work together to eliminate barriers and to promote a healthy policy climate to expand trade, increase investment and innovation, and foster the next generation of technology that will make us more productive and more inclusive and advance economic and social policy objectives important to us all.