BSA’s 2017 Fly-In Highlights Data Issues, Workforce Development, and Trade

On Wednesday, board members and executives from BSA’s member companies met with Members of Congress and the Administration to talk about policy priorities of importance to the software industry and our digital economy. The BSA delegation included representatives from Adobe, ANSYS, Apple, Autodesk, Bentley, CA Technologies, Datastax, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Splunk, Symantec, Trend Micro, Workday, and our newest member company, DocuSign.

Our busy day of meetings included discussions with Chairman Bob Corker, Chairman John Thune, Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Mark Warner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Representative Patrick McHenry, Representative Bob Latta, co-chairs of the Digital Trade Caucus, House Judiciary Committee members, and several White House officials, including the Office of American Innovation.

As part of our discussions, we shared the results of BSA’s Economic Impact of Software Study, showing software’s nearly $1 trillion impact on the US economy. Software supports nearly 10 million jobs nationwide and drives economic gains in all 50 states. We released our inaugural study in 2016 and we look forward to sharing the results of our 2017 study with policymakers later this year.

Earlier this week, BSA released its digital trade agenda, outlining provisions that every modern trade agreement should include. During our meetings with Congress and the Administration, we talked about the importance of clear, enforceable digital trade rules that should be in a modernized NAFTA and all future trade agreements. The essential need for digital trade rules was well understood by the Administration and Congress, as they recognized that digital trade powers not just Silicon Valley, but the U.S. economy as a whole.

In order for digital trade to prosper, not only are enforceable digital trade rules critical, but also the continued operation of the Privacy Shield. The Privacy Shield is a framework between the US and EU that allows for the continued flow of data across the Atlantic. It is scheduled to be reviewed in September and it’s important the US remains committed to the agreement. We’re pleased to say that support within Congress and the Administration for Privacy Shield remains solid.

There’s also a recognition among policymakers that the software industry is creating more jobs than can easily be filled. We had many good conversations on the importance of both the public and private sector collaborating to train the workforce of the future. The software industry is committed to helping ensure that we can fill the many tech jobs available here in the US. From our discussions with Members of Congress and the Administration, we saw that they share this commitment. One recurring point was the need to celebrate and embrace the value of technical training, a key part of workforce development–this means moving beyond a traditional impression of “vocational training” to recognize programs that give people technical skills to prepare them for technology jobs.

Throughout our meetings, it was clear that policymakers recognize the importance of software throughout the economy, from agriculture to airplanes and just about everything in between. This recognition is critical to ensuring that the software industry can continue to power the US economy in the 21st century and beyond. We thank all of the Members of Congress and Administration officials with whom we met and we look forward to working with them on these critical issues in the months and years ahead.

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