Earlier today, I had the honor of joining President Obama, governors of several states and prominent economic and foreign policy experts at the White House to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.
Much has been written and said about this agreement. I want to share the economic argument for supporting global trade, and why IBM is supporting the ratification of the TPP.
As our name proclaims, IBM is an international business. From its founding, our company’s growth and success has depended on the ability to bring innovations to new markets. Thomas Watson, Sr. so appreciated the importance of trade to IBM, its clients and society as a whole that he mounted a plaque with the motto “World Peace through World Trade” on the company’s New York headquarters. Today, thanks to the work of IBMers all around the world, more than two thirds of IBM’s revenues come from outside our original home market here in the United States.
As the economy evolves to usher in a new era – the cognitive era – it will be necessary to reinvent many structures and systems, including those that facilitate global trade.
That is precisely what we see in the TPP. It is specifically designed (PDF,173KB) to protect and grow the worldwide digital economy. The TPP would prevent governments from creating barriers to the movement of data or enacting arbitrary requirements for storing data locally. It also would boost global cooperation on critical priorities like cybersecurity, and establish strong protections for software source code and other valuable intellectual property.
Enacting these provisions would set a new precedent for digital trade. They would influence future trade agreements, making sure that the transformative power of data can be harnessed to the fullest extent. Digital trade is not just a priority for IBM or the tech sector. It is critical to our clients – banks, airlines, manufacturers – and any business whose global operations are dependent on free flowing data. It touches start-ups and small businesses, including the ecosystem partners around the world who are using the IBM Cloud to embed Watson’s cognitive capabilities in their products.
The TPP will expand trade and economic opportunity across 12 countries that represent nearly 40 percent of global GDP. It will drive real income growth worldwide to more than $492 billion per year. In the U.S. alone, trade supports over 41 million jobs, and that number has grown more than three times faster than the nationwide jobs total. Trade policy is seldom easy. But we remain focused on driving prosperity, innovation and new opportunity in all countries where IBM operates, which is why we will continue to advocate for the ratification of the TPP – the world’s first pro-data, pro-digital trade agreement.
To better understand how the TPP impacts the world’s digital economy, I’d encourage you to read more about its ‘Digital 2 Dozen’ principles.
—Ginni Rometty is Chairman, President and CEO of IBM.