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September 19, 2014

Report: Clearly in U.S. Interests to Include Intellectual Property Protection in FTAs


DALLAS, TX Intellectual property (IP) goods not only dominate U.S. exports and support a significant portion of the U.S. domestic economy, but IP protections also strengthen economic growth in countries around the world. It is therefore crucial for the U.S. government to prioritize policies supporting innovation and creativity, especially in trade agreements.

“Creativity and innovation is the U.S. competitive advantage in trade, and to exclude IP protections in free trade negotiations would be malpractice for U.S. trade negotiators,” writes Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) President Tom Giovanetti in a new report.

Free trade agreements are dominated by IP goods. In “Why Intellectual Property Should Be Included in Trade Agreements,” Giovanetti reveals how IP goods make up the largest share of U.S. exports, with 57.7% of all products originating from IP industries.  Intellectual property undergirds a significant portion of the U.S. economy, directly accounting for over 27 million jobs and indirectly supporting nearly 13 million jobs, according to U.S. Department of Commerce figures. He also encourages U.S. trade negotiators to press U.S. trading partners toward greater respect for IP rights, which numerous studies show benefits their economies, boosting foreign direct investment and domestic R&D.

“It is clearly in U.S. interests to include IP protection in trade agreements.  Those IP protections are much more essential to economic growth than labor and environmental protections, which are routinely included in trade agreements,” writes Giovanetti.

Since higher IP protection standards are proven to benefit all parties to an FTA, why is there so much controversy over those protections in proposed FTAs, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)?  It’s because some people are skeptical of IP in general, not its inclusion in trade agreements, says Giovanetti.

“Many of the activists who oppose IP protections in trade agreements also favor weakening or eliminating IP protection altogether,” he writes. “And many are in support of using trade agreements to promote policies they favor. Let’s recognize it for what it is: a philosophical dispute over IP that has spilled over into trade policy.”

“Focusing on the data demonstrates that, for the U.S., protecting IP in trade agreements should be a no-brainer that benefits our trading partners, as well,” Giovanetti concludes.


The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) is an independent, nonprofit public policy organization based in Dallas. Copies of “Why Intellectual Property Should Be Included in Trade Agreements,” are available at IPI president Tom Giovanetti is available for interview by contacting Erin Humiston at (972) 874-5139, or



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