The Importance of Tech in the U.S.-Brazil Relationship

The United States-Brazil relationship will take center stage this week as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro travels to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Trump for the first time. This is an important moment for both countries as their leaders come together to discuss issues of mutual interest, including economic success, trade, and security. It’s also an important opportunity to advance policies that recognize the integral role technology plays in ensuring these areas prosper.

Technology continues to be a force for global economic growth, development, and social interaction. The digitization of industry across all sectors requires a new set of interconnected policies that allow communities, businesses, and people in both countries to realize the benefits of this change. The United States and Brazil are no exception. Policies that enable the free flow of data, make digital products and services more accessible, and promote innovation across all industry sectors are necessary for both economies to continue to grow. We encourage Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro to work together to advance economic integration and innovation-friendly policy frameworks.

There are a number of ways the two governments can show meaningful progress on trade. Brazil’s commitment to reducing information and communication technology tariffs or joining the World Trade Organization Information Technology Agreement would give American businesses increased access to the Brazilian market, where tariffs are some of the highest in the world. Opening the market and reducing tariffs on tech products would also make digital technologies more accessible to Brazilians in all industries and parts of the country, bridging the digital divide and enabling citizens, consumers, and businesses to interact more easily than before.

The United States and Brazil also have the opportunity to address cybersecurity while advancing trade and economic growth. Increasing market access in Brazil would bolster the nation’s cybersecurity by enabling the Brazilian government and companies to leverage state-of-the-art products and services to secure critical infrastructure and information. Further, both the U.S. government and private sector are well-situated to share best practices and collaborative approaches for tackling this complex topic with Brazil. For example, there is a well-established history of public-private partnerships on cybersecurity in the United States that allows government and industry stakeholders to work together to solve challenges such as critical infrastructure protection or supply chain security. As Brazil seeks to find solutions to similar cybersecurity challenges, it can benefit from an ongoing dialogue with U.S. government and industry stakeholders by leveraging resources and learnings from their collaboration.

Beyond cybersecurity, there are other complex policy issues at the nexus of security, privacy, and trust that governments and industry in Brazil and the United States are confronting. For instance, last year, U.S. policymakers advanced a sincere effort to address the important issue of enabling the legitimate needs of law enforcement and national security to access data stored digitally while protecting trust and privacy of individuals. The Clarifying Lawful Use of Overseas Data Act, or CLOUD Act, provides a new legal framework for enabling bilateral executive agreements between the United States and other countries to enable law enforcement agencies to access data directly from service providers, provided privacy and human rights standards are met. The United States and Brazil should explore a bilateral dialogue to discuss the path forward to better understand each other’s work in this area, the critical perspectives of industry and other stakeholders, and the efforts that will be needed to attain such an agreement in the future. We encourage the two governments to jointly establish such a mechanism.

ITI has a long history of policy engagement in Brazil, and we look forward to discussing these key priorities during our own travel to Sao Paulo and Brasilia at the end of March. We hope to continue this ongoing dialogue with the new Bolsonaro administration and government officials and share our experiences globally on issues related to privacy and data protection, trade, data localization, innovation and emerging technologies, and cybersecurity.

As the Presidents of Brazil and the United States increase their collaboration in addressing the challenges of trade and security, we hope that tech is at the top of their mind as a solution for enabling economic growth, unleashing innovation, and improving competitiveness.

Public Policy Tags: Trade & Investment, Cybersecurity