Heightened Sense of Urgency to Come to an Agreement
The Best – Not Fastest – Deal Should be U.S. Goal in TPP
08.26.13 | By Jay Taylor
With the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting scheduled for October and participating countries emphasizing their desire to complete Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations this year, there is a heightened sense of urgency to come to an agreement. This point was reinforced by the start of the 19th round of negotiations in Brunei – just one month after the previous round concluded in Malaysia. This self-imposed deadline, however, could have lasting economic consequences for the U.S. if negotiators do not successfully address key issues, including intellectual property protections.
As an innovation-based economy, the United States depends on strong intellectual property (IP) protections to grow industries like the biopharmaceutical sector. Weak IP protections in the TPP would put the United States at a disadvantage and hamper innovative sectors of our economy with fewer resources to invest in new technologies, cures and products. With biopharmaceutical companies representing nearly 20 percent of all domestic R&D funded by U.S. businesses, this would not only result in fewer new medicines in the pipeline for patients, but also have a potentially damaging effect on the U.S. economy and job growth.
It takes more than a decade and a billion dollars to develop a new drug and get it approved, which makes protecting IP essential to continued R&D and innovation. This is especially true for biologics – medicines created with living organisms that treat diseases like cancer and diabetes. Failing to ensure the TPP provides 12 years of data protection for these types of medicines could result in jobs lost, stymied innovation and fewer scientific breakthroughs. As a result, America’s biopharmaceutical industry could lose its stature as the world leader in medical innovation and some of the approximately 3.4 million jobs supported by the industry across the country could be in jeopardy.
Trade agreements like the TPP can open new markets for U.S. goods and help create jobs, but if not done correctly the U.S. economy could suffer. We commend the Administration for pursuing trade agreements like the TPP that have the potential to open new markets for American goods and services. Taking the time to get the substance right and ensuring IP is protected is essential to ensuring that the Trans Pacific Partnership will be a boon for all sectors of our economy.