Trade Agency Wants To Know Where US Stands in Global AI Marketplace

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The government wants to learn more about international regulations that would prevent U.S. companies from selling AI technologies abroad.

The International Trade Administration wants a better understanding of the global marketplace for artificial intelligence tools and resources and the policies that would affect U.S. sales abroad.

The agency—part of the Commerce Department—posted a request for comment on Tuesday in the Federal Register seeking “broad input from all interested stakeholders—including U.S. industry, researchers, academia and civil society—on the potential opportunities for and challenges to increasing U.S. export competitiveness for AI-enabled technologies.”

ITA has two goals with regards to AI internationally: ensuring the U.S. remains a leader in this space, while promoting “innovative and trustworthy AI systems that respect human rights, democratic values, and are designed to enhance privacy protections,” the notice states.

However, the agency first needs an understanding of AI development and marketplaces across the world before it can form a coherent strategy for pushing U.S. interests.  

ITA is looking for information about how mature these technologies are in various parts of the world; how they are being developed, sold and deployed; and the policies and regulations being established by countries and international bodies, including policies that would affect the development or sale of U.S.-based AI products.

The notice asks for information about technologies and resources central to AI development—including data, computing power and the algorithms themselves—as well as technologies that are heavily reliant on AI—"autonomous vehicles, robotics and automation technology, medical devices and healthcare, security technology, and professional and business services, among others.”

The request includes 13 specific questions:

  • What foreign/international AI policies or regulations exist?
  • What trade barriers currently exist in the AI space? What remedies could resolve these trade barriers?
  • What challenges are there when it comes to exporting AI products or services?
  • How could international AI regulations impact future product or service design and development?
  • What trade policies could be helpful in supporting small- to medium-sized enterprises that export AI products and services?
  • Who is involved in standards development activities related to AI? In which fora should standards development for AI take place?
  • What challenges does your organization face with regards to protecting your AI intellectual property, especially during overseas dealings?
  • What can the U.S. government do to best foster and protect IP rights for U.S. AI technologies in overseas dealings?
  • How should trustworthiness and risk management of AI systems be considered by industry and/or policymakers?
  • What role do global innovation hubs and regulatory sandboxes play in U.S. competitiveness in AI? Please describe specific examples of involvement if applicable.
  • How is U.S. competitiveness—talent, research and development and commercial exports—in AI compared to other countries?
  • What can the International Trade Administration do to create more opportunities for U.S. AI technologies in the global marketplace? What impactful actions can ITA take to reduce or remove challenges, risks and barriers to help U.S. AI technologies compete in the global marketplace?
  • How can AI be incorporated into existing and future trade agreements to ensure the competitiveness of U.S. industry?

ITA will be accepting comments through Oct. 15.