International Trade Policy

Intel public policy: How Intel promotes innovation worldwide

Intel is the largest United States (U.S.) semiconductor manufacturer and a world leader in computing innovation. Intel does about three-quarters of its advanced manufacturing and research and development (R&D) in the U.S. yet generates more than three-quarters of its revenue from outside the country. Semiconductors have been one of the top U.S. exports for many years and the focus of the escalating tensions between the U.S. and China.

Intel strongly supports robust free trade agreements (FTAs), which open foreign markets and level the playing field so that U.S. businesses can keep growing. The U.S. currently has 14 FTAs with 20 countries in force.

The most notable FTA is between the U.S., the United Mexican States (Mexico) and Canada, commonly known as the USMCA (successor to NAFTA). The USMCA, which went into effect on July 1, 2020, preserves and enhances U.S. duty-free access to Mexican and Canadian markets and increases predictability for cross-border transactions.

The U.S. government should negotiate more FTAs and enact the Trade Promotion Authority. These actions would make the U.S. able to pursue 21st-century trade agreements that support and create U.S. jobs while helping American manufacturers increase U.S. exports and compete in a highly competitive, globalized economy. Well-crafted and consistently enforced FTAs minimize and remove trade barriers that can cripple U.S. businesses. In addition, the U.S. should be committed to reform and strengthen the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address challenges such as protectionism and unfair trade practices. Intel strongly supports open global trade, including multilateral trade agreements such as the WTO Information Technology Agreement or the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Key Issues

International Trade

Prohibit forced localization requirements

FTAs should prevent governments from requiring the localization of R&D, intellectual property, and manufacturing within their borders as a condition of market access. Such measures are counterproductive as they undermine competition and reduce global trade by more than $90 billion each year. These initiatives also undermine innovation and are especially harmful to the tech sector as it is based on a complex global supply chain.

Minimize commercial encryption regulation

Robust encryption technology is necessary to protect digital devices and networks. The number and seriousness of cybersecurity attacks continue to grow. Regulatory barriers to the use of cryptography run the risk of decreasing the overall security of computing devices and the internet.

Prohibit technology transfer requirements

Broad compulsory licensing requirements or requiring unnecessary confidential information as a condition of product approvals and market access are on the rise in emerging markets. The U.S. government should make it a priority to remove these barriers to international trade.

Minimize requirements to use specific technologies

FTAs should constrain governments from picking winners and losers. Technology mandates are only justified in very limited circumstances that deal with public health and safety; yet, as global competitiveness increases, attempts to require the use of domestic technologies to favor local companies are increasing as well.

Eliminate all information and communication technologies (ICT) tariffs

The U.S. government should continue to pursue an ambitious expansion of the zero-tariff WTO Information Technology Agreement, which benefits U.S. technology leaders the most .

Customs and Trade Facilitation

Intel supports public policies to help open markets, ensure cross-border data flows and eliminate unnecessary regulations around the world for ICT products. Such policies would ensure that any consumer can access the best available products at market-based prices. Maintaining modern and easy-to-follow customs and trade procedures is highly important to major global supply chain participants like Intel. Our business activities span over 100 countries, with nearly 80% of sales taking place outside the United States. Intel heavily depends upon the ability to quickly move products across international borders cost-effectively and with minimal burdens.

Intel strongly supports the landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) agreed to by the 160 member nations of the WTO in 2017. The TFA allows for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. The TFA also sets out measures for cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. The Agreement improves transparency, increases possibilities to participate in global value chains, and reduces the scope for corruption.

With WTO approval of the TFA, the U.S. and other governments should continue to work closely to implement the Agreement’s obligations across the WTO membership. These obligations should be met while ensuring maximum trade benefits in the most effective and timely manner possible.

Key Issues

Customs and Trade Facilitation

Facilitate post-COVID-19 trade

Governments have adopted and implemented a series of measures and actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Relevant pandemic information has become abundant and dispersed on different platforms. Policymakers and trade operators need timely access to such information, which is crucial in understanding how these actions impact trade. As a result of the pandemic, trade facilitation is more important than ever. Mechanisms adopted to maintain the flow of safe cross-border trade will continue to be a key policy tool to address the challenges of the global pandemic.

Establish multinational oversight and capabilities

Establish national and multilateral oversight, problem-solving and consultation capability over the coming months by standing up to  WTO and national trade facilitation committees as required under the TFA. The work of these committees should embrace internationally coordinated process metrics that assure timely, transparent, uniform and otherwise efficient and effective achievement of TFA objectives.

Achieve broad TFA implementation

Build customs capacity in developing countries that enable the capability to operationalize the Agreement’s many provisions and take advantage of associated trade benefits. Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses should coordinate as needed to build the customs infrastructure for creating this capacity.


Ideas and perspectives promoting a thriving innovation economy from Intel’s public policy team.