Finalizing the Agreement

What’s Next? TPP Heading Into the Final Stretch

08.30.13 | By Mark Grayson

The 19th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Brunei conclude today, and with countries looking to finalize the agreement by the end of this year, there is much to be done in the coming months.  

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman emphasized that nothing would be jeopardized in this rush to complete the deal, but with a number of difficult provisions still to be negotiated, including intellectual property (IP) protections, it is likely something could be compromised. The entry of Japan means that TPP countries would account for almost 40 percent of global GDP and about one-third of trade worldwide. Such a significant agreement means we need to ensure it is not rushed and sets a tone that will be beneficial to global economies in the future.

Protecting intellectual property is one way to ensure this occurs. Studies show a correlation between how strong an economy’s IP protections are and the extent to which it participates in trade, foreign direct investment and technology transfer. Stronger IP rights mean increased foreign direct investment and trade, and this is not just for developed countries. When developing economies protect IP, there is an increase in technology-intensive foreign direct investment.    

Emphasizing strong IP protections in the TPP benefits all countries, and it is necessary for future U.S. economic success. As an innovation-based economy, we depend on strong intellectual property protections to grow industries like the biopharmaceutical sector, and failing to do so could have lasting implications on innovation and job growth. As negotiators look to identify and execute the next steps of this agreement, they must ensure it benefits all participating countries, and protecting intellectual property is key to accomplishing this.

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