Today was an historic day for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who arrived in the U.S. on Sunday for a week-long visit and became the first Japanese leader to address a joint session of Congress. Prime Minister Abe arrives at a critical juncture in Japan-U.S. relations, as our two nations continue bilateral negotiations that could pave the way for finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
While no major trade or economic announcements are expected during the Prime Minister’s visit, recent trade talks between President Obama and the Prime Minister indicate favorable progress, moving closer on related components that could lead to a much-anticipated conclusion to the 12-nation, U.S.-led trade initiative. As two of the most innovative countries in the world, both Japan and U.S. must work together to ensure that provisions in the TPP, especially with regards to intellectual property protections, do not become a roadblock to innovation and fair competition.
Aligned with our efforts to expand support for TPP and robust intellectual property protections, a successful agreement will create an environment that promotes collaboration and strengthens innovation, allowing the TPP economies to prosper by providing innovators with the freedom to take necessary risks and look ahead for newfound opportunities to develop the next generation of revolutionary products that our patients and consumers alike, desire and need.
In addition to promoting patient health, America’s and Japan’s biopharmaceutical sectors are dynamic, job-creating industries, and we must work to provide opportunities within the context of the TPP discussions to create opportunities that expand markets for both economies. This opportunity is an important and critical step to driving innovation and sustaining the availability of new, lifesaving medicines, and we hope that Japan, a longtime friend and ally, will continue to be a partner with the U.S. in finalizing a robust, pro-innovation TPP.