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U.S. Chamber’s Elliot Testified on NAFTA and Intellectual Property Issues with Canada
Today, Mark Elliot, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere at a hearing titled, “NAFTA at Twenty: Accomplishments, Challenges, and the Way Forward.” Elliot spoke about intellectual property matters related to NAFTA, particularly industry concerns with Canada’s current IP systems, and opportunities for improvement in 2014.
Elliot’s full testimony is available at www.theglobalipcenter.com and bulleted excerpts are below:
“At the time of signing, NAFTA intended to create the best levels of IP protection and enforcement… It was a testament to how important IP was viewed by Mexico, Canada, and the United States. However, as this was signed twenty years ago, this level of IP protection is now a very low bar in 2014.
“In 2012, the Chamber released an International IP Index, a comprehensive review of the intellectual property environment in 11 key markets based on existing international standards and best practices.
“The United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia all perform well in the Index…. Mexico and Canada, however, rank closer to the likes of Russia, Malaysia, and China.
“In Mexico, however, we continue to see progress… and the business community has been working productively with the Mexican government.
“In contrast, Canada’s relative low score is a result of wide-ranging IP problems including: enforcement, weak on membership and poor ratification of international treaties, and significant problems with patent and copyright laws.
“Canada is the largest trading partner for the United States… [making] it all the more bewildering to the business community at how substandard Canada’s IP system is.
“The TPP provides the U.S., Canada, and Mexico the opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of strong IP protections, innovation, and access to the creations and inventions of the 21st century.
“A TPP agreement that includes a high-standard IP chapter is good for jobs and good for international trade. The TPP will also allow Canada to raise its IP standards, promote innovation, and bolster its growing economy.”