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Chimène I. Keitner & Harry L. Clark
Virtually without exception, conducting business across borders today means being connected to the Internet. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), which is awaiting implementation by Congress, would become the first operative United States free trade agreement to include a chapter devoted to “digital trade.” The USMCA provisions on digital trade build on the electronic commerce chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP, now CPTPP)—a multilateral trade agreement that the Obama Administration negotiated, but the Trump Administration rejected. As the United States continues to negotiate the conditions for its bilateral trade relationships, cybersecurity concerns are likely to feature in the discussions.
As a general matter, trade agreements seek to reduce barriers to cross-border trade. The prospect of negotiating a trade agreement can be used as a “carrot” in foreign relations, whereas punitive measures such as sanctions and tariffs are used as “sticks.” Meanwhile, growing concerns about cybersecurity and the perceived risks posed by foreign technology and foreign control over data create pressures for more trade-restrictive arrangements. This essay examines provisions relating to digital trade and cybersecurity against the backdrop of these potentially competing interests. We begin by describing current efforts to address cybersecurity-related concerns in trade treaties, with a focus on the USMCA. Next, we address concerns at the intersection of cybersecurity and national security. Third, we identify an apparent trend towards company-specific arrangements rather than global regimes. Finally, we offer an assessment of current efforts to use trade treaties to resolve cybersecurity and digital trade challenges.
 Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada, Nov. 30, 2018; see Roy Blunt, USMCA: Where Things Stand, Senate Republican Pol’y Comm. (Mar. 26, 2019), https://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/usmca-where-things-stand.
 See, e.g., Anupam Chander, The Coming North American Digital Trade Zone, Council on Foreign Rel. (Oct. 8, 2018), https://www.cfr.org/blog/coming-north-american-digital-trade-zone (observing that “the TPP is dead, long live the TPP”).