Research from Wendy Li Featured in New York Times Op-Ed

Headshot of Wendy LiResearch from Wendy Li’s article, “Regulatory capture’s third face of power,” was featured in a recent New York Times op-ed: “How the Biden Administration Took the Pen Away from Meta, Google, and Amazon.”

The op-ed author writes, “Last month, President Biden’s trade representative, Katherine Tai, notified the World Trade Organization that the American government no longer supported a proposal it once spearheaded that would have exported the American laissez-faire approach to tech. Had that proposal been adopted, it would have spared tech companies the headache of having to deal with many different domestic laws about how data must be handled, including rules mandating that it be stored or analyzed locally. It also would have largely shielded tech companies from regulations aimed at protecting citizens’ privacy and curbing monopolistic behavior…

“The truth is that Ms. Tai is taking the pen away from Meta, Google and Amazon, which helped shape the previous policy, according to a research paper published this year by Wendy Li, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who used to answer the phone and interact with lobbyists at the U.S. trade representative’s office. The paper includes redacted emails between Trump-era trade negotiators and lobbyists for Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, exchanging suggestions for the proposed text for the policy on digital trade in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. “While they were previously ‘allergic to Washington,’ as one trade negotiator described, over the course of a decade, technology companies hired lobbyists and joined trade associations with the goal of proactively influencing international trade policy,” Ms. Li wrote in the Socio-Economic Review.”