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Intermediary Protections in New NAFTA and Future Trade Agreements are Critically Important


Michael Petricone, Sr. VP, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Consumer Technology Association
The Consumer Technology Association strongly supports the retention of Article 19.17 in the Digital Chapter of the U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement (USMCA).  Article 19.17 consists of language closely resembling Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act establishing the commonsense principle that the liability for online speech lies with the speaker, not the host platform.
 
Not only is Article 19.17 fully consistent with U.S. law, but its inclusion massively benefits American digital exporters.  America has the world’s leading and most dynamic internet economy.  American online platforms are the world’s default choices for business, communication and entertainment.  This would not have been possible without Section 230 intermediary liability protections.  
 
Because of intermediary protections, startups can get off the ground without facing massive lawsuits, internet sites can host third party reviews, and individuals receive greater free speech opportunities via access to global platforms. More, Section 230 ensures that internet platforms can perform the essential work of moderating harmful content without facing liability. (Section 230 does not, however, provide legal protection for copyright violations or criminal conduct).
 
These essential benefits are why, when asked about Article 19.17 at a June 19 Congressional hearing, U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer correctly responded that Section 230 "is US law” and  is part of a Digital Chapter that ensures “small internet companies can grow and use their advantages.”
 
Bringing our trading partners into alignment with our longstanding model on intermediary protections represents groundbreaking progress.  Article 19.17 is, and should, remain an important component of the USMCA as well as all future trade agreements.

Tell Congress to support USMCA.

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