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A Communique on the G-20 Digital Economy Ministerial

April 7, 2017, in Dusseldorf, Germany

The digital economy is an integral part of our daily lives. We use online tools and services to search for information, help with our children’s homework, order household goods from our favorite retailer, and myriad other tasks. Companies around the world use similar tools to find and connect with other businesses, share information seamlessly between different manufacturing locations, and file their taxes, among other things. These tools and the value they add to the economy are referred to as the “digital economy.” The digital economy is of great interest domestically and internationally, as its development and implementation are at the heart of every country’s economic competitiveness.

The G20 (Group of 20) is a forum for representatives of governments of 20 major economies to consider and address issues of common interest impacting the citizens of these economies. As the president of the G20, Germany initiated a work stream focused on the digital economy. Over the past four months, representatives of the G20 countries have been examining policies and practices that will further the growth, development and deployment of digital economy technologies. These policies and practices cover all aspects of the digital economy, from connecting to the internet to the use of international standards to strengthening user confidence in digital technologies to policies that allow U.S.-headquartered companies to compete around the world.

Getting these approaches right is essential to ensuring that there is a level playing field in markets everywhere and that U.S. companies can compete fairly and have barrier-free access to global markets and bring their services to customers around the world. This will promote high-quality U.S. jobs and ensure that the internet remains a driver of economic growth and prosperity.

Recognizing the importance of these factors, earlier today, the United States signed the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Declaration. The Declaration recognizes and reiterates many fundamental principles that have made the internet possible and have improved the quality of our lives.

By committing with our G20 partners to the free flow of information across national borders, to the protection of intellectual property, to the use of industry-led international standards, and to fair competition, we will ensure that the full potential of the digital economy can be realized, and that our citizens will reap its benefits.

The United States government will continue to work with Germany, other G20 partners and all other interested countries to strengthen these fundamental principles while fighting against efforts to weaken them or create barriers that impede U.S. companies from accessing and competing in foreign markets.