Politics The US needs a worker-centric digital trade agenda
Democrats plea with Biden to get more assertive
The grumblings have grown louder after Virginia and New Jersey and as the legislative agenda remains in limbo.Officials say that President Joe Biden and his administration failed to effectively message or aggressively muscle its economic agenda through Congress and that, in the process, they allowed the party to grow more fractious.
The time is ripe for the U.S. to negotiate or join a digital trade agreement that advances U.S. internet standards of openness and democracy, as opposed to China's autocratic standards. Such an agreement also must be worker-centric, protecting the rights of workers and small businesses.
The Biden administrationthat new trade policies and agreements must be worker-centric. This term includes more robust labor protections but is part of a larger initiative to develop trade policies that allow the balance of benefits to accrue more to workers and less to large corporations. New digital trade policies can be crafted to fit into this framework, addressing the needs of workers and small businesses in the digital economy.
For a true comeback in Asia, Biden needs a proactive trade strategy
To prove that the Biden-Harris administration is serious about the Indo-Pacific, America must return to the negotiating table before it’s too late.The Biden-Harris administration has signaled its intent to restore American leadership in the Indo-Pacific. Several cabinet members have already visited the region in the administration's first year, and in September, President Biden hosted the first-ever Quad Summit at the White House. Just before the Quad Summit, the United States concluded AUKUS, which provides Australia with nuclear submarines in a bid to buttress maritime security in the region.
A worker-centric digital agenda starts at home. The digital economy poses three key labor challenges. First, we must address America's deep- one that hits workers from underserved communities especially hard. All citizens must have access to digital devices and broadband, and digital training must be inclusive and accessible to all.
Next,(TAA) should be modernized to meet the needs of digital workers who lose their jobs because of trade. TAA should be made permanent and cover the full range of service workers - from truck drivers to call center workers, to those service employees tied to a factory which moves overseas. It also should emphasize digital training to equip workers for the new economy.
McConaughey says 'aggressively centric' governments needed to fight partisan divides
Actor and Texas native Matthew McConaughey said Tuesday that levels of government need to be "aggressively centric" at this moment to overcome divisive politics and create unity.The "Lincoln Lawyer" actor, 52, made the comments at The New York Times's Dealbook conference held this week this week during a discussion about partisan divides. "I think our country, state, needs to be aggressively centric now," he said, according to Bloomberg News. "It's a daring place to go, it's a radical move right now.
Third, we must recognize that the digital economy has introduced a new category of gig workers who provide on-demand work, services or goods. Global gig-economy transactionsto grow by 17 percent annually to around $455 billion by 2023. These workers typically lack health care and other traditional employee benefits. Policymakers must ensure that they have the same labor rights and benefits as traditional employees.
In addition to investing in workers, we must invest in small businesses. In 2020,worked for small businesses - almost half of the private sector workforce. The digital transformation has been especially rapid for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Facilitating access to technology and training for small business owners is an important way to build a more inclusive economy.
Worker-centric digital trade policies must start with expanded stakeholder representation in setting policy, bringing in small businesses and labor representatives to refocus priorities and create worker-centric outcomes.
Demand grows for digital vaccine passports as borders reopen
In the week since international travelers were welcomed back to the United States, there's been an uptick in travelers using digital health passes.American Airlines has been seeing a nearly 10 percent increase in its VeriFLY app usage for travel since the Nov. 8 lifting of U.S. entry restrictions, said spokeswoman Rachel Warner. Tech research firm Apptopia noticed a 5 percent increase in downloads of these kinds of apps from the week before the travel ban was lifted, according to Thomas Grant, the company’s director of equity research.
Future digital agreements also must contain language committing parties to upholding the highest labor standards at home and abroad. The needs of workers abroad must be addressed, especially in lower-income countries and including funding for trade capacity-building to ensure that these workers can reap the benefits from trade.
A worker-centric trade agreement should remove barriers to digital participation for disadvantaged socioeconomic groups. Making digital agreements work for SMEs, by simplifying and digitizing trade formalities, is essential. The(DEPA) between Singapore, New Zealand and Chile includes provisions on digital inclusion and SMEs.
China has been engaged in non-market practices in itsto sell its technologies throughout the developing world. A digital agreement must create disciplines for subsidies and state-owned enterprises, practices used by China and copied by many other countries.
The heart of a worker-centric digital trade agreement are governance provisions that will foster the responsible use of technologies and protect workers and other online users. Online privacy has become an urgent worker concern because many employers use artificial intelligence, facial recognition and other technologies to monitor employees' activities and automate supervision. The U.S. needs federal privacy legislation, and a digital agreement must include language to protect workers' privacy and data. Agreements should encourage governments to develop balanced regulations so that the use of emerging technologies is transparent, fair and human-centric.
Two birds, one stone: Closing the digital divide and facing down Mark Zuckerberg
Lawmakers can extract socially beneficial services and tax revenues from Zuckerberg's Meta while they still have the leverage. Also, Zuckerberg needs more people to populate his Metaverse, if and when that comes about. More people with high-speed internet should be an attractive idea for purely self-serving purposes.
Cybersecurity never has been more important since COVID-19 has forced more business, health care and schooling online. Strengthening U.S. cyber protection means investing in talent and training workers for the future. Cooperation across borders is essential to mitigating digital security risk.
A worker-centric digital trade agenda must have a comprehensive approach to data flow to build trust. It should include provisions to protect the movement of data across borders, remove restrictions forcing local data storage, and subject data flow to robust security and privacy standards. The U.S. and its trading partners should guard against the export of personal data to third parties or countries that are likely to use this data to harm people.
Keeping the internet a safe and trusted medium is critical to our democracy and its values. New challenges in foreign markets have emerged, as governments misuse technology regulations to surveil political dissidents, suppress speech and undermine human rights. We need a smarter approach to promoting effective content-moderation practices and minimizing harmful content online, while continuing to promote free expression and political discourse. Language similar to theand should be in digital agreements, along with commitments to ensure that technology is never used to violate human rights.
Almost everything Pelosi is saying about Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda is wrong
The House voted Friday to advance President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar welfare and climate change spending legislation, the so-called “Build Back Better” agenda. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi led the charge and made an impassioned speech promoting the legislation. There’s just one problem: Almost every single major factual claim she made about the "Build Back Better" agenda is false.“Build Back Better is fully paid for. It reduces the deficit and grows the economy,” Pelosi said on the House floor.
To protect workers and citizens online, digital agreements must include provisions that address unsolicited messages, consumer fraud and other online harms. U.S. policymakers should strengthen the provisions in the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement and the(USMCA) that address enforceability and the ability to redress damages.
Finally, including language on competition policy in a U.S.-led digital agreement could help dispel the notion that such an agreement benefits only Big Tech, and it could have the added benefit of strengthening regulatory cooperation among parties.
Technology and trade have delivered enormous benefits to global society, but they have not been shared equally. The Biden administration's focus on workers is an opportunity to develop a worker-centric digital trade framework. This could help create a more equitable future for U.S. workers, a safe environment for workers and businesses, and a global digital governance agenda that promotes shared values of equity and democracy.
Orit Frenkel, PhD, is co-founder and CEO of the. She is a former senior executive at the General Electric Company and served as director for trade in high-technology products at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Follow her on Twitter .
Overdue progress on costs of trade to workers, firms, farmers and communities .
Developments show signs of vitally needed progress toward doing a better job alleviating harm to domestic labor as well as firms and communities hurt by U.S trade policy. Sherman Katz is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Study of the Presidency and Congress. He practiced international trade law as a partner of Coudert Brothers for 33 years and has then held senior positions at public policy research institutions.