Commerce Dept. to send “digital attachés” to Mexico, South Korea and four other nations – TechCrunch
The U.S. Department of Commerce is opening six new international markets for its Commercial Digital AttachÃ© program, according to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker who spoke with TechCrunch today in San Francisco.
The attachÃ© program, which began in March this year, establishes commercial officers in countries where U.S. businesses seek to export their digital goods and services through e-commerce, or seek to engage in other online business activities.
The expansion will send six new Commercial Officers to: South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Germany and France. Previously, the Commercial Digital AttachÃ© program included: ASEAN, Brazil, China, Japan, India, and the European Union.
According to Department of Commerce data, services that are delivered online account for more than half of U.S. services exports, and one-sixth of all U.S. goods and services.
That number seems likely to increase thanks to three major trends.
One is increasing mobile and broadband access in populations around the world.Â A secondÂ is the continued digitalization of previously analog services. ThirdÂ is the rise of fullyÂ digital industry segments like virtual reality and augmented reality in games, media and entertainment.
Pritzker said the six nations added to the Commercial Digital AttachÃ© Program were selected because U.S. companiesÂ already have huge engagement there,Â in terms of trade and commerce overall.
âThe role of these commercial officers is primarily to help American companies navigate the digital environment,â she said.
The Secretaryâs tenure will conclude in January when the Trump administration begins. It is not clear how incoming commerce secretary Wilbur Ross will approach issues around the global distributionÂ of digital goods and services,Â though he has extensive foreign investment and telecommunications experience.
During her time leading the 46,000-employee department of commerce, Pritzker traveled to 40 countries, often bringing U.S. entrepreneurs in tow alongside government leaders to press foreign leaders for changes to policies that impede the easy exchange of digital goods and services, like stringent data localization requirements, for example.
SheÂ helped negotiate a safe harbor rule, working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), that allows data to go back and forth between businesses in the U.S. and Europe online. That agreement supports $290 billion worth of trade, her department estimates.
Other markets and issues remain challenging for U.S. businesses that want to deliver content, goods and services onlineÂ and overseas. TheÂ Great Firewall in China and its censoring mechanisms are probably the best known.
Featured Image: TechCrunch