Building the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement State of the Art on Intellectual Property

Today, the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) welcomed a letter from Members of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing their support of strong intellectual property (IP) protections in the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The bipartisan letter, led by Reps. Murphy (D-CT), Coble (R-NC), and Mack (R-CA) was sent last week to President Barack Obama urging strong IP provisions in the trade agreement. We commend Reps. Murphy, Coble, Mack, and other signatories for their strong support for advancing the protection of America’s IP-intensive industries globally and for recognizing the important precedential value of the TPP Agreement in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

The bipartisan letter highlights the economic contributions of America’s IP-intensive industries and the crucial role strong IP protection plays in promoting the vitality of these industries. The letter urges the administration to not only seek the highest IP standards as it finalizes the proposals but to also reject any efforts to weaken IP protection. The agreement should include standards similar to those in the U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement and ensure the standards apply to all participants in the TPP deal.

America’s struggling economy, increasing unemployment, and burgeoning deficit need a catalyst that would help bring us out of this economic rut. One way to do so is to approve the three pending free trade agreements and continue moving forward with the TPP agreement. The U.S. Chamber has long-touted the simple equation: trade = jobs. The TPP agreement will boost U.S. exports and strengthen U.S. commercial ties to a region that is vital, both strategically and economically. Most importantly, a TPP agreement will create jobs.

With the United States and eight other countries engaged in the negotiations, the TPP is envisioned as a cutting-edge trade accord that will serve as a doorway through which American exporters can better access the booming markets of Asia. A May 2011 report completed by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) notes that “TPP is perhaps most important because it could be a model 21st century free trade agreement that fosters further global economic integration and raises the standard by which countries can conduct true, market-based trade.” This includes building a model containing strong IP protection and enforcement provisions.

The economic growth and global competitiveness of the United States hinges on our ability to foster innovation and creativity. When IP-intensive industries drive 60 percent of U.S. exports and employ more than 19 million Americans, the Obama Administration must make protecting American IP a major priority in the negotiations. The Administration is aware of the valuable role that IP plays for our competition in a global marketplace—it’s even cited on page 60 of the 2011 Economic Report of the President. We need to get serious on ensuring the TPP agreement is the gold-standard for IP provisions in any FTA, especially if we’re going to get serious on creating jobs.

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