In the Stone Age, as humans struggled to survive and build, they traded for food and tools. In the Age of Discovery, as explorers traversed the seas, they traded spices. And now in the Information Age, as the Internet becomes an increasingly robust business platform, all kinds of goods and services are traded online every day.
Thanks to the Web, trade has never been easier. Companies large and small can have easy access to a global marketplace. And in that way, the free flow of information without restriction across the Internet is contributing to growing economies across the world.
Fortunately, several countries and entities have recognized the critical role that open information flows play in trade and economic growth. Just a few weeks ago, the United States and Japan signed new information and communications technology principles which support open government and the free flow of information across national borders. That agreement comes on the heels of similar principles signed by the U.S. and EU and members of the U.S. business community last year.
We hope that more governments and industries will recognize the role that the free flow of information plays in the global economy. A consistent and transparent framework for cross-border flows of goods, services and information will help individuals and businesses around the world.