July 28, 2015

GIPC Event in Maui Puts IP Chapter in TPP Spotlight as Negotiations Continue

All eyes are on Maui, Hawaii, this week as negotiators and trade ministers from the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries continue negotiations on the pending trade agreement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been actively involved since the beginning of discussions with each of the countries participating in the TPP – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.

To that end, the Chamber is on Maui this week engaging in the discussions and holding an event Monday that highlighted many of the key outstanding issues.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a leading champion on U.S. congressional trade efforts and the TPP specifically, delivered pre-recorded remarks encouraging negotiators to seize the moment and come to agreement on those outstanding issues. Tami Overby, Chamber senior vice president for Asian Affairs, and Patrick Kilbride, executive director for international intellectual property at the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), spoke at the event.

The IP chapter is one of the critical outstanding areas in the TPP. The event, A Critical Time for Trade: The World is Waiting, highlighted the opportunities the agreement can provide toward jumpstarting the global innovation economy through strong IP standards in trade pact.

Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, stressed the benefits of trade to Hawaii’s economy while making the case that TPP countries could benefit much like Hawaii has through international trade efforts.

Bryan Spicer, co-executive producer and director of perhaps Hawaii’s most high-profile television show, “Hawaii 5-0,” pointed out that “the entertainment industry is based on creative ideas, and IP protections provide a safe environment to be creative.”

Ian Kitajima with Hawaii-based science and engineering firm Oceanit added that the “creative process is an important element to business, and IP is a critical part of that process.”

Brian Lee Crowley of the renowned MacDonald-Laurier Institute stressed why IP matters are at the forefront of the pending TPP agreement: “IP is no longer a matter where individual countries can easily go it alone, because its increasing importance in a globalizing world has forced it to the forefront of international trade negotiations such as the TPP.”

Lorenzo Montanari of the Property Rights Alliance presented a letter signed by 85 organizations from 51 countries that urged lawmakers from around the world to strengthen IP laws through international trade agreements.

The broad spectrum of attendees at the event highlighted the importance of a strong TPP agreement, and why it’s critical to get it right.

The Chamber will continue to advocate for a strong TPP and fight for an IP chapter that increases access to life-saving medicines and promotes innovation for all sectors of the global economy.


Matt Harakal is Director of Communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).

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