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As a globally integrated enterprise with operations in over 170 countries, and with over 60 percent of our revenue generated outside of the United States, IBM is a strong supporter of free trade. To better serve our global clients, IBM must be able to locate and operate near our customers, and we need the flexibility to leverage our global supply chain and the ability to draw upon our worldwide resources to meet our clients' needs in the most efficient and effective way, wherever they are located. Trade barriers, cumbersome customs procedures, unnecessary supply chain regulations, and underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure can deny access to, or raise the cost of, our leading-edge services, information technology solutions, hardware and software for potential clients.

Information technology plays an important role in promoting innovation, improving productivity and enhancing competitiveness in individual firms and throughout entire economies. Countries that create barriers to trade in these products and services place their own businesses and governments at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace and hinder their countries' economic development. Countries that open markets and allow competition to thrive among all providers of information technology solutions can improve their economies' productivity and competitiveness.

IBM promotes policies to open markets and eliminate unnecessary regulations around the world for information technology products and services, ensuring that any organization can have access to the best available tools at market-based prices. IBM also encourages partnerships between industry and governments to secure global supply chains against external threats, while ensuring the smooth flow of legitimate trade. We work with governments to educate them about the benefits of open markets and competition, including faster innovation, increased choice and lower prices, and we promote the use of international standards and industry best practices. We leverage industry trade associations, working with both clients and other IT-sector companies where our trade policy goals align, to influence governments around the world. We focus especially on growth-market countries that provide the greatest potential opportunities and present the most significant market access challenges.

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