Tech & Science

U.S. tech industry urging hard line on Canada’s online bills ahead of Biden visit – National

The U.S. High Tech Industry Coalition has called on President Joe Biden to take a tough stance on Canada’s approach to digital services.

The group says the proposed digital services tax unfairly targets U.S. businesses and turns against international efforts to establish global standards.

In their letter to Biden, they also complained about two controversial federal bills. The Online Streaming Act, known as Bill C-11, and the Online News Act (Bill C-18).

They warn that C-11, intended to protect Canadian content providers, could backfire and ultimately increase costs for consumers.

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And they fear that the Online News Act, which provides compensation to Canadian news organizations and broadcasters, could violate agreements between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

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Biden is meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later this week as part of his first visit to Canada since taking over the White House in 2021.

“We are concerned that Canada is pursuing a number of questionable proposals and actions that could significantly limit the ability of U.S. companies to export goods and services and compete fairly in the Canadian market. ‘, the letter said.

“It is critical that the United States hold Canada accountable for its USMCA commitments to ensure the continued success of this important agreement.”

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The letter is signed by 10 different organizations in the digital services sector, including the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the IT Industry Council, and the American Chamber of Commerce.

First and foremost, Canada’s “discriminatory and retroactive” digital services tax is on their sights, with the group estimating it will collect US$4 billion over five years, mostly from US companies.

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Designed to ensure tech giants pay their fair share of taxes in countries where they earn income without a physical presence, the tax will come into effect next year if a new multilateral tax framework is not formed by then. only come into effect.

Canada has endorsed the so-called “Comprehensive Framework” established under the auspices of the G20 and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“Canada’s pursuit of DST sets a damaging precedent for other Inclusive Framework participants to adopt similarly targeted taxes on U.S. digital services.”

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Another precedent is also concerns over online streaming laws. This is a sign of efforts to impose a regulatory scheme on the Internet designed for the “traditionally restricted world of broadcasting,” the association said.

If the bill is passed, it “could have disastrous consequences for content production and distribution, and could encourage other countries to implement similar content-priority schemes.”

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And they say the Online News Act, which has already heightened tensions between the federal government and tech giants like Google and Meta, excludes digital companies from outside the United States in violation of the terms of the North American Trilateral Trade Agreement. It is said that it seems to be

“It is important that the U.S. government holds Canada to its trade commitments and highlights the negative global precedent that would be set if Canada implemented these measures in their current form.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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