February 21, 2014

TPP at the Dinner Table

By Jasper MacSlarrow

Currently in Singapore, representatives from twelve countries reflecting a wide range of economic development are sitting at the negotiating table together. If the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is anything like my family at the dinner table, there may be arguments or differences, but at the end of the day we hopefully all leave with camaraderie and satisfaction, whether it’s the meal or in this instance- a trade agreement.

Finding points of agreement within a family is hard enough, finding points of agreement between countries spanning oceans and continents is even harder. With reports that the 4-year process of putting together the TPP may soon come to an end, it’s important to focus on the core principles that all 12 economies can agree on: the paramount importance of creating jobs and ensuring growth.

Whether it’s in GDP, exports, innovation or jobs, every country has much to win from a gold-standard TPP. Specifically, strong intellectual property (IP) rules in the TPP will provide a blueprint for the critical Asia-Pacific region, providing immense economic benefits, as researcher NDP Analytics finds:

IP-intensive industries, those that invest more on R&D per employee than the national average, outperform non-IP-intensive industries across economic measures. IP protection is an essential component for innovation, which is the main driver of economic growth across countries. IP protections are instrumental in facilitating the transfer of technology, attracting foreign direct investment, and localized innovation.

Industries reliant on forms of IP such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets are fundamental to the U.S. economy and will also serve as a catalyst for achieving diverse, innovative economies overseas. In a new study by NDP, a high-standard TPP agreement could spur $47.5 billion in manufacturing sector sales and add $15.4 billion in GDP for all 12 member countries. So what does IP have to do with it? Nearly two-thirds of these economic benefits stem from IP-intensive industries.

Enjoying economic advantages like these is something we can all agree on. As the twelve negotiating countries come to a possible close, let’s ensure we have an ambitious, high-standard agreement which nourishes dynamic and innovative economies to come.


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