April 28, 2014

As Knowledge-Based Trade Rises, Intellectual Property Needs to Be Protected

By Sean Hackbarth (Cross-posted from the U.S. Chamber Blog)

Intellectual property is becoming a more-important part of global trade, the Wall Street Journal reports:

“Knowledge-intensive” flows, ranging from royalties payments to legal services to trade in cutting-edge electronics, amounted to an estimated $12.6 trillion in 2012, equal to about half the world’s total flows in goods, services and finance, according to the report by the McKinsey Global Institute released Tuesday. Those exchanges of advanced products and services are growing at 1.3 times the rate of trade in labor-intensive goods.

One example: In February, NBC broadcast the Olympics after paying $1.18 billion, boosting total U.S. royalty and licensing imports to $4.3 billion that month, the most ever.

This highlights the need for high standards of intellectual property protection in trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Mark Elliot, Executive Vice President of the Global Intellectual Property Center, writes:

As you read this, U.S. trade negotiators are in Tokyo pushing hard to conclude the agreement, vowing to iron out all of sticking points by the end of the year. But with global trade relying on the standards that are set in the TPP, it is critical that the TPP isn’t just any agreement- it must be a 21st century agreement that is the model moving forward, including robust IP standards.

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