Originally published: November 3, 2011
Last updated: December 20, 2011 - 6:53pm
Google, Microsoft, Citigroup, IBM, GE and other top-tier American companies urged the United States to fight for trade rules that protect the free flow of information over the Internet.
The unveiling of principles hashed out by the companies over the last nine months comes at a crucial moment, said Rick Johnston, senior vice president for international government affairs at Citigroup. Past trade agreements have largely focused on eliminating tariffs on manufactured and agricultural goods. But "we're now in an era where the economy is literally driven by the Internet. It's a digital economy," Johnston said. The group's report says future U.S. trade pacts must "reflect the new realities of the global economy: specifically, the contribution of the Internet toward economic growth, toward job creation and exports," said Bob Boorstin, director of public policy for Google, which has battled Internet restrictions in China and other countries.
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