Twenty years ago, when NAFTA was still a novelty, Patrick Hadley and I looked at the interface of trade and communication policy. I recalled this when I was asked a question during a TV talk show about safeguards for culture in trade agreements. Looks like the issues we wrote about are becoming mainstream:
China’s notorious online controls have long been criticized as censorship by human rights groups, businesses, Chinese Internet users and others.
Now they have earned a new label from the American government: trade barrier.
United States trade officials have for the first time added China’s system of Internet filters and blocks — broadly known as the Great Firewall — to an annual list of trade impediments. The entry says that over the last decade, the limits have “posed a significant burden to foreign suppliers, hurting both Internet sites themselves and users who often depend on them for business.”