The International Trade Commission has launched an investigation into the trade and economic effects of foreign censorship on U.S. businesses.

In requesting this investigation the Senate Finance Committee defined censorship as “the prohibition or suppression of speech or other forms of communication” and said foreign governments use many tools to carry out censorship, including technological measures that restrict digital trade. The committee therefore asked the ITC to provide the following.

- identification and descriptions of various foreign censorship practices, in particular any examples that U.S. businesses consider to impede trade or investment in key foreign markets, including (1) the evolution of censorship policies and practices over the past five years in key foreign markets, (2) any elements that entail extraterritorial censorship, and (3) the roles of governmental and non-governmental actors in implementing and enforcing the practices

- analysis of the trade and economic effects of such policies and practices on affected businesses in the U.S. and their global operations, including employment, direct costs (e.g., compliance and entry costs), foregone revenue and sales, self-censorship, and other relevant effects

The ITC intends to hold a public hearing in this investigation on Sept. 14. Pre-hearing briefs are due by Sept. 2, post-hearing briefs are due by Sept. 21, and all other written submissions are due by Oct. 1. The ITC intends to transmit its report to the committee by July 5, 2022.

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