Golden Opportunities for a Gold-Standard TPP

Last week, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a report calling for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) to be crafted into a “gold-standard trade agreement” which “insist[s] that the countries that join it adhere to the very highest standards.” As representatives from nine countries prepare to descend upon Leesburg, Virginia next week to negotiate a comprehensive and high standard trade agreement –– we couldn’t agree more.

The TPP provides an opportunity for U.S. companies to access one of the most dynamic economies in the world and to set the rules of the road for future agreements. Of critical importance for this agreement is securing robust intellectual protections modeled on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. This is vital to the 55 million U.S. jobs that rely on IP and which fuel 74% of U.S. exports.

There is no incentive or benefit to strike a mediocre agreement. Here, we have the opportunity to set an IP framework for this crucial economic region, which is not only vital to the U.S. economy but to all the TPP parties. As ITIF puts it, “recognition of intellectual property rights is vital if global trade, foreign direct investment, and innovation are to thrive.”

This means securing commercially meaningful IP provisions for all sectors consistent with the highest standards of our prior FTAs and U.S. law. Anything less would send the signal to our trading partners that we are willing to accept weaker IP protections abroad than in the U.S. One such example is the importance of securing 12 years of data protection for innovative biologic medicines, which are at the forefront of medical innovation. As the ITIF report highlights, this protection is necessary to “sow the seeds of investment in the next generation of biomedical innovation,” thereby facilitating global access to lifesaving medicines.

With the next round of TPP negotiations only days away, it is more important than ever that we stand behind the industries that prop up jobs, innovation, and access to breakthrough technologies. On IP, we must make sure we are always trading up.

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