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Biden’s Digital Trade Policy Continues to Undermine American Interests With New Report

The Biden administration has once again neglected American economic interests in pursuit of progressive antitrust activism. In startling contrast to recent National Trade Estimates (NTE) report releases, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) under Katherine Tai has dropped concerns in its 2024 report highlighting blatant targeting of American firms by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). This glaring omission marks a sharp contrast to the previous three years, during which the USTR rightfully identified the DMA as a significant barrier to trade for American companies.

The DMA is a sweeping piece of antitrust legislation which the European Union is already using to target and heavily fine almost exclusively American businesses. The law also imposes severe restrictions on the ability of large tech firms to compete against other businesses in the digital marketplace, meaning U.S. businesses like Apple and Google will have to effectively help their smaller European competitors eat their lunch. The law has only been enforced for less than a year, but the EU has already opened investigations into Meta, Google, and Apple—exclusively American companies.

By failing to address this issue in this year’s NTE report, the Biden administration has effectively signaled its unwillingness to stand up for U.S. economic interests in the face of foreign regulators seeking to write themselves blank checks on the back of American innovation.

This latest misstep is part of a larger pattern of troubling behavior from USTR Tai. On a recent South by Southwest (SXSW) panel, Tai praised the EU’s approach to the digital economy, suggesting that the nationality of a company should not be a factor in determining “who I should be fighting for.” Such statements are a clear indication that the Biden administration prioritizes appeasing European regulators over advocating for American firms and workers.

As the chief trade negotiator for the United States, Tai’s primary responsibility is to secure favorable trade policies and agreements that enable American companies and our nation’s ideals to thrive in the global marketplace. Instead, she appears to have lost sight of this core mission, pursuing a progressive agenda that undermines the competitiveness of our nation’s most successful industries.

The U.S. tech sector, often hailed as the economy’s “key growth engine,” plays a vital role in maintaining America’s economic dominance on the world stage. By embracing the DMA and other foreign regulatory barriers, the Biden administration is actively impeding the progress of American entrepreneurs and businesses, putting our long-term economic interests at risk.

Even worse, Tai’s decision to abandon pro-American digital trade rules at the World Trade Organization may empower adversaries to gain more dominance in global markets, putting our national security at risk. In an increasingly interconnected global economy, it is essential that the United States remains a strong advocate for free market principles and open digital trade standards. Failure to do so not only harms American businesses but also cedes ground to countries like China, which may seek to impose a model of digital governance that prioritizes state control and protectionism over American values of openness and freedom.

The American people deserve a U.S. Trade Representative who will tirelessly defend our nation’s economic interests in the face of foreign adversity. Katherine Tai’s actions, however, represent an unacceptable dereliction of that duty. The Biden administration must realign the USTR’s efforts with its core mission – using every available tool to open markets, break down barriers and ensure a level playing field for American job creators.

In an era of increasing global competition and economic instability, the United States cannot afford to have an administration that prioritizes political ideology over the well-being of its citizens, from both an economic and security standpoint. It is time for President Biden to put American interests first and demand that his trade representative does the same.