US Chamber DMA Key Concerns and Recommended Adjustments
Former Executive Director, Europe & the U.S.-UK Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
February 23, 2022
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the European Union’s desire to strengthen its digital economy and expand the benefits of digitalization to more of its citizens. Indeed, a thriving European digital sector would be beneficial for the many U.S. companies who are heavily invested in Europe, employing hundreds of thousands of workers across the continent, as well as those for whom digital trade has opened new markets. Indeed, the transatlantic digital relationship is already a huge success story: the EU and the U.S. are the two largest net exporters of ICT-enabled services in the world, and two-way trade in such services in 2020 totaled $57 billion.1
At the same time, we are concerned about the extent to which some EU policymakers seek to bolster the EU’s digital competitiveness at the expense of major American investors in Europe. The EU is proposing rules that may appear to afford formally identical treatment for all companies but that are in fact carefully crafted to apply to a select number of U.S.-headquartered firms exclusively. WTO rules clearly prohibit this kind of discriminatory treatment as a violation of national treatment obligations the EU and its member states have assumed. Moreover, such an approach risks creating unnecessary frictions in the transatlantic relationship at a time when greater transatlantic coordination is needed, especially on issues related to technology policy.
The Chamber appreciates that the digital transformation of the economy raises significant public policy questions that merit serious consideration and debate. However, it is far from clear that a horizontal “one-size-fits all” approach to competition policy and platform regulation, as contemplated in the proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA), is the right answer. Indeed, as Europe, the United States, and other countries consider many of the same questions, a considered approach that engages stakeholders and policymakers from other markets throughout the process is essential to avoid unintended market disruptions which could undermine competition.
We urge policymakers to fully utilize the EU-U.S. Trade & Technology Council and other fora to address shared challenges in the regulation of the digital economy. This would foster greater coherence, minimize regulatory fragmentation, and help avoid measures that may ultimately undermine competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic. This is especially important as the EU and the United States face growing economic and geopolitical challenges from autocratic regimes that do not share our commitment to promoting market-based economic principles, the open exchange of information, and the rule of law.
Attached are several key concerns about the DMA along with recommended adjustments to mitigate those concerns.