As a global business, McAfee supports the modernization of customs and trade procedures. We depend on the ability to move products across international borders quickly, cost effectively, and with minimal burdens. McAfee believes in robust free trade agreements (FTAs), which open foreign markets and level the playing field for US businesses. Likewise, McAfee supports NAFTA given its positive impact on the competitiveness of US industry and overall job growth.

The 20 existing US FTA partners purchase nearly half of all US manufactured goods exports, even though they account for less than 10% of the global economy. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, real incomes for Americans are 9% higher than they would have been due to more open trade. Jobs linked to exports pay, on average, 18% more than other jobs.

The US government should negotiate more FTAs, protect existing FTAs, and enact Trade Promotion Authority. Well-crafted and consistently enforced FTAs minimize and remove trade barriers that can cripple US businesses.

Importance to McAfee

Since the existing trade agreements were originally negotiated, cybersecurity has become a major global economic force.  North America is the largest cybersecurity market, with a wide range of industry offerings, of which the United States accounts for the biggest portion. The US cybersecurity industry is also an important source of well-paying jobs, and addressing the domestic cybersecurity workforce shortage is a national goal.

An industry of this size, vibrancy, and degree of priority should be a part of US trade agreements and strategy. Facilitating and streamlining international trade in cybersecurity products and services will foster continued industry growth, promote employment in the field of cybersecurity, and strengthen US competitiveness and leadership in the cybersecurity marketplace.

Overbroad international cybersecurity regulations can put US companies at a disadvantage. One way to address these issues is to promote development and alignment of voluntary cyberrisk management frameworks among the parties of future trade agreements. The maturity of the cybersecurity markets, as well as the strength and sophistication of cybersecurity protection, varies between North American countries. Broad alignment on a comprehensive framework of cybersecurity principles would help the parties aim at the same cybersecurity goals, make informed decisions about security investments, hold service providers to a consistent standard, and foster the overall maturity of the North American cybersecurity marketplace.

Key points

Negotiate more FTAs

The US government should negotiate more FTAs and protect existing FTAs. Well-crafted and consistently enforced FTAs minimize and remove trade barriers that can cripple US businesses. FTAs that are consistently enforced remove and reduce trade barriers that can debilitate businesses in the United States. By negotiating more FTAs, the US government would not be required to localize R&D, intellectual property, and manufacturing within their borders as a condition of market access. These measures create challenges for competition, would reduce global trade by more than $90 billion each year, and would weaken innovation in the tech sector.

Enact Trade Promotion Authority

McAfee believes the government should enact Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA not only supports job growth in the United States, but makes the United States more competitive globally. By updating TPA, we are ensuring that our global partners realize the support that US negotiators have from Congress when we call for stronger agreements. This allows us to compete in the global economy, as it evens the playing field between state-owned enterprises and private firms. Moreover, high-standard agreements encourage countries outside US trade agreements to raise their own standards, which helps American businesses and workers compete better globally.

Eliminate information and communication technologies (ICT) tariffs

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) concluded in 1996, and it covers many high technology products. Today, it represents 82 participants, which represents approximately 97% of world trade in IT products. The US government should continue to pursue the expansion of the zero tariff WTO ITA, which benefits US technology leaders the most. McAfee believes fewer tariffs will benefit us because they are an unnecessary barrier to entry that can often tip the purchasing decision in favor of products that are not so encumbered.

Support digital goods cybersecurity risk management in future agreements

Older existing trade agreements, such as NAFTA, have, for the most part, not dealt much with the cybersecurity aspects of the digital goods and services covered by those agreements. Overbroad international cybersecurity regulations can put US companies at a competitive disadvantage. To help address these issues, we respectfully urge the US Trade Representative (USTR) to promote alignment of voluntary cybersecurity risk management frameworks, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, in future trade agreements.

Thomas Gann

Chief Public Policy Officer


Kent Landfield

Chief Standards and Technology Policy Strategist


Chris Hutchins

Managing Director, Public Policy EMEA

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