IP Delivers Trade and Investment Opportunities Around the World

By Jasper MacSlarrow

In our last newsletter, we discussed how the IP provisions in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will help deliver jobs and innovation in both the United States and Europe. But what about other parts of the world?

As it turns out, the United States is currently of negotiating another essential 21st-century trade agreement: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

This week, the 18th Round of TPP negotiations will begin in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The agreement seeks to increase trade, foster innovation, and stimulate economic growth between the 12 countries participating in the agreement – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States, with Japan officially joining the negotiations this week.

The case for the TPP is strong.  According to the IMF, the world economy will grow by $21.6 trillion over the next five years, and nearly half of that growth will be in Asia. Two billion Asians joined the middle class in the last 20 years, and another 1.2 billion are expected to do so by 2020. The TPP is an opportunity to join economies from both sides of the Pacific, allowing native industries from all members to enjoy access to markets they might otherwise not have been able to open.

The TPP is also critical to the future protection of intellectual property (IP). The agreement allows for all parties to establish meaningful, robust IP policies which would serve as a catalyst for global innovation, access, jobs, and safety. The case for IP is equally as strong as the case for the TPP itself. We must secure the proper IP protections to ensure that the trade and investment relationship in the Asia-Pacific region continues to flourish in the coming years. Whether it’s the innovative technologies from Japan or indigenous textiles from Chile, consumers and companies alike all benefit from the protection of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.

And the good news: this isn’t anything new. In 2012, the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS) included 21st-century, comprehensive IP provisions, which can serve as the model for the protections in future trade agreements. If this trading bloc is to harness its potential, we must ensure that the right rules for IP – like those in KORUS – are in place. This will be crucial to ensuring that IP delivers opportunities for investment, innovation, and economic growth in the future.

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