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February 12, 2016

GIPC Releases International IP Index, 4th Edition

On February 10th the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released the fourth edition of its International IP Index. The Index is a mapping and ranking of the climate for IP-based innovation in the 38 economies around the world that account for nearly 85 percent of global GDP.

There is a ranking, of course, because people (and governments) like lists. And while the rankings easily lent themselves to highlighting on social media, the great value is the nation-specific discussion of changes in country policies that have improved their IP climate, and nation-specific discussion of gaps and areas for improvement. For instance:

  • Malaysia is noted for improvements in its IP climate, and its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will result in further improvement in its IP policies.
  • Israel’s 2014 patent reforms, including data protection for pharma-related clinical data and patent restoration for biopharma.
  • But several European countries, including Switzerland, Sweden, Poland and Italy, are noted for lax efforts at combatting online piracy.
  • The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are noted for continuing to tie IP protection to concessions on market-access and for an overall policy of using weak IP protection as a means of trying to favor their own domestic interests.
  • Even the U.S. is faulted for weak enforcement against trade secrets theft.
  • < Read More >>

    Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

January 29, 2016

Grading the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Derek Scissors of AEI published a paper back in December containing his analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which at some point one assumes will be submitted to Congress by President Obama.

Scissors is a free-trader who recognizes the need for such agreements in the absence of an effective WTO trade liberalization process. Based on several of his written pieces, Scissors 1) thinks the TPP as negotiated is distinctly better than no TPP, 2) is disappointed that the U.S. didn’t work harder to get a better deal, 3) thinks we should still try to fix the TPP within the framework of the existing parties to the agreement and, if that doesn’t succeed 4) we should fix the TPP at the cost of dropping countries that refuse to go along with the proposed fixes.

Earlier in November of 2015 Scissors wrote:

If this cannot work, free traders should not abandon the TPP. The next step would be to shrink the number of participants in the first round. 

Scissors recognizes that the business community is pretty solidly behind the TPP as an improvement the status quo.

Here at IPI, we’ll be writing a lot more on the TPP as the debate begins in earnest. But for now I wanted to highlight the fact that Scissors’ disappointment with the TPP do not stem from the most popularly criticized and controversial sections of the agreement, the intellectual property and agriculture sections. His chief criticisms are with the sections having to do with state-owned enterprises (SOE) and with the excessive number of exceptions that were granted to countries to simply not conform to the agreement in particular areas. It would have been far better to allow those countries longer phase-out times for those domestic considerations rather than simply granting them a carve-out from trade liberalization.

The strength of Scissors’ paper is how handily he rebuts the most commonly voiced arguments against the TPP. In particularly, as you might guess, I’m interested in his comments on the intellectual property section, which he grades at a B+. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

November 9, 2015

Rubio's Reasonableness on Sugar

It’s a little surprising to see the Wall Street Journal savage Marco Rubio in an editorial (Nov. 5).

Or maybe not. Rubio originally championed something like the Journal’s preferred loose immigration policy, until he got the political stuffings beaten out of him by the consensus of Republican voters.  Apparently the Journal editors would have preferred that Rubio’s candidacy had already been doomed by sticking with an immigration policy strongly disfavored by the voters. Being out-of-step with voters on one of the most intense policy issues is not a path to political success, as Jeb Bush is discovering. But the Journal’s editorial board is apparently still chapped over Rubio’s reality check on immigration, as they can’t help but reveal in the last paragraph of “Rubio and Big Sugar.”

By painting Marco Rubio as a thoughtless panderer to Florida’s sugar interests, the Journal editors do more than a disservice to one of our brightest and most principled presidential candidates—they create a straw man and then blow it over. Rubio has a considered position on the U.S. sugar program, and it’s worth an investment of time to understand it: Rubio wants U.S. sugar subsidies phased out as part of a global trade agreement, rather than unilateral disarmament on the part of the U.S. He believes that a negotiated treaty approach is the better and more sustainable long-term solution. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

November 6, 2015

On Obama's Rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline

The United States is the cleanest place on earth to refine oil. We have the highest environmental standards, the best technology, and the strongest rule-of-law institutions.

That Canadian oil is going to be refined somewhere. If not in the U.S., it’s going to be refined elsewhere. Contrary to Obama’s implication, that oil is NOT going to remain in the ground.

That means the Keystone XL pipeline was the best option for the environment.  Now that oil will be shipped by rail and by ship, where a spill is more likely and more damaging, where the refining will be more harmful to the environment, and where the jobs and other economic benefits will happen.

Just the latest example of how for liberal-progressivism, symbol is more important than substance. It’s about how it makes liberals feel, now—not about reality or the long-term impact of the policy. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

October 27, 2015

Ag Committee Hearing Properly Draws Attention to Problem of Foreign Subsidies

Trade policy is starting to get interesting.

Trade is back in the policy discussion with the Trans-Pacific Partnership having been concluded and many waiting to see the final text of the agreement. It’s a major agreement, and if it’s ratified by signatory countries, will have a dramatic impact on U.S. trade going forward.

But there are other trade issues as well, including enforcement of existing trade agreements as well as those countries and goods that are not covered under trade agreements.

That was the topic of a hearing held last Wednesday by the House Committee on Agriculture, led by Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX). The Committee is concerned about foreign agriculture subsidies that distort markets and target American producers.

Now, we’ve written before about this issue with a focus on the sugar markets. On the one ideological side you have people who overtly believe in protectionism in a mistaken pursuit of somehow benefitting American producers by protecting them from foreign competition and thus gifting them with artificially high prices.

On the other ideological side you have those who think that believing in free trade should mean immediately eliminating any policy that affects the flow of goods across our border. If other countries want to subsidize production of some good in order to gain market share in the world’s most lucrative market (the United States), we should let them. Unilateral disarmament, in other words. It matters not that they would put U.S. producers out of business—all that matters is that U.S. consumers would get lower prices, which is a net benefit to the nation. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

October 9, 2015

House Votes to End the Crude Oil Export Ban

The House of Representatives has just taken a major step toward reducing the U.S. trade deficit: ending the crude oil export ban. 

In 1975, when gas lines were long and voters’ tempers were high, Congress passed legislation prohibiting U.S. crude oil exports. The country had seemed to peak its oil production a few years earlier and was on a gradual crude oil production decline, and Congress wanted the country to keep every drop it produced.  Read More >>

Posted by Merrill Matthews | Comments

October 9, 2015

Congress Finally Does Something Useful and Lifts the Ban on Crude Oil Exports

We'll, here's some good news: The House voted today to lift the senseless and outdated ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

And while this may seem like a no-brainer, there are any number of no-brainer pieces of legislation that Congress isn't bothering to move, so this is progress.

There is no argument against allowing U.S. crude oil exports except for an extreme anti-fossil fuels mindset, which is as unrealistic as it is wrong.

Here's a piece written by IPI's Dr. Merrill Matthews on why the ban is outdated and should be repealed.

It's important for the Republican Congress to be passing this kind of commonsense legislation that the majority of the American people support, even if they suspect President Obama is going to veto it.

Let him. Force him to explain his rationale to the American people. Get him on record, and force all other Democratic candidates and elected officials whether they agree with the President or not.

One of the things that is so frustrating people right now is Congresses not bothering to pass good legislation because of the threat of a veto. In this baseball playoff season, Republicans need to stop playing wiffleball and start playing hardball. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

October 2, 2015

Let's Get Real about What's Fair in TPP Copyright Provisions

Last year I was invited by Bill Watson of the CATO Institute to make the case as to why it is critically necessary for U.S. negotiators to insist on strong IP provision in our trade agreements.  Intellectual property-intensive industries account for about two-thirds of U.S. exports – it would be malpractice for our negotiators NOT to work to prevent foreign theft of American innovation.

(I think I got the better of my fellow panelists at that event—you can watch it and judge for yourself.)

The TPP negotiators are in Atlanta this week trying hard to work through the last few, toughest issues, and Bill is back at it again, this time arguing that the United States should not only allow, but in fact demand broad exceptions to copyright in the laws of our TPP trading partners.  This again proves what I said last year – that the TPP debate is not really about trade, it’s about people who want weaker intellectual property rights.  (Bill was kind enough to reference this piece of mine in his, which is always nice.) Ok, so let’s have that debate.

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

July 31, 2015

The Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement Did NOT Blow-up Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Program

Right now, literally as I type this, Australian trade negotiators are reportedly resisting U.S. demands for increased protection of pharmaceutical and biotech innovation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. They are no doubt motivated by the warnings of Australian academics and researchers that Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which the Australian government uses to control drug prices, will be weakened or undone altogether by extending the period of data protection for biologics, among other provisions.

The sky-is-falling warning from these academic critics of the pharmaceutical industry is that protecting the products of innovation will necessarily result in dramatic price increases, which Australia (and Australians) will no longer be able to afford.

Interestingly, Australian academics made this exact same argument in 2003, warning Australia about the treaty that was then being negotiated, the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  

I have before me a copy of a paper published by The Australia Institute, entitled “A Backdoor to Higher Medicine Prices? Intellectual Property and the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement,” by Dr. Buddhima Lokuge, Dr. Thomas Alured Faunce, and Richard Denniss.

The paper predicted that the Australia-U.S. FTA would result in dramatic increases in the cost of prescription drugs in Australia.

“This paper examines five leading medicines near the end of their patent lives in Australia. Based on PBS expenditures for these drugs in 2003, we estimated the potential cost of likely changes to IP provisions under the FTA to the PBS and Australian taxpayers. The costs accrue over a four-year period from 2006 to 2009. . . . The ‘central case’ estimate is that the additional cost of these five drugs alone, as a result of IP provisions in the FTA, will be more than $1.12 billion with a lower estimate of $850 million and an upper estimate of $1.56 billion.”

But they were wrong then, and they’re likely wrong now. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

July 30, 2015

Australia Drug Prices Did NOT Increase After Australia-U.S. FTA

A piece in today’s Dominion Post (New Zealand) finds that warnings about higher drug prices as a result of free trade agreements are baseless, as least as far as facts are concerned:

“We can't assume medicine costs will increase if some patents or Intellectual Property protections are extended. Speculation about rising medicine prices under the TPPA mirror concerns Australians voiced over the U.S-Australia FTA. However, since signing the FTA in 2005, Australia's spend on pharmaceuticals has remained stable and the rate of expenditure has decreased. In 2006 Canada's pharmaceutical spend decreased after implementing an eight year data protection period. Similarly, after Japan increased data protection in 2007 to eight years, pharmaceutical spend decreased and health care spend increased by the year 2010.” Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

July 15, 2015

TPP Critic Quigley Writes Article for Foreign Policy; Coordinates with Anti-IP Activists

On Monday, a writer named Fran Quigley had a piece published on the Foreign Affairs website that was highly critical of some of the provisions in drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

We’ll get around to dealing with the arguments in Quigley’s FP article in a separate blog post.

Quigley’s title of “Clinical Professor of Law in the Health and Human Rights Clinic” at Indiana University tells us much of what we need to know. If you merge health and human rights, you have already decided that access to every bit of the latest health care technology available is a human right, and if it’s a human right, it’s your right to have it for free, or for something very close to free.

That makes Quigley an activist more than an analyst of the provisions of the TPP. A look at his cv demonstrates that Fran is a social justice crusader, a proponent of the labor movement, and a neighborhood organizer type. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

June 3, 2015

Toward a Free Market Agriculture Policy

A few weeks ago Americans for Limited Government Foundation published a paper by Dr. J. Wesley Burnett of the College of Charleston on "Moving to a Free Market Agriculture Policy." It's a great, short survey of U.S. agriculture policy, especially of recent policy changes, and the role of U.S. agriculture in global agriculture markets. If you're looking for an accessible way to get up-to-speed on federal agriculture policies, this paper is a great means of doing so.

I was drawn to the paper because it also touches on sugar policy reform, something I've written on a couple of times recently for IPI. The paper endorses a multilateral approach to solving the sugar subsidy problem, as I have also suggested. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

May 31, 2015

An Important Supporting Argument for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement

An important (though not primary) argument for the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, and thus for the importance of trade promotion authority (TPA):

"The only thing that could stop China from dominating Asia would be if a hostile, sustainable alliance of Pacific Rim nations emerged." Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

May 2, 2015

Now Is the Time for Republicans to Back TPA (Trade Promotion Authority)

Republicans should enthusiastically support Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Yes, Obama is mostly right on trade. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

This TPA extends past the Obama admin into the next, hopefully Republican, administration. So it's not just for Obama.

"Why not wait until we're sure the next president is a Republican?" some say. Here's the problem: Right now you can peel off a certain number of Dem votes for TPA because it's for a Dem president. If a Republican is president, you'll never get those Dem votes.

Now is the time for TPA. Not just because it's right, but because it's in the strategic interest of the next (hopefully) Republican president as well. Read More >>

Posted by Tom Giovanetti | Comments

January 22, 2015

An Issue In Which We Can Agree: Fast Tracking the TPP

Trade may be the one area in which Congressional Republicans and the president can work together, and Obama has called the Trans Pacific Partnership a high priority that would not only strengthen the U.S. as a leader in the Pacific Rim, but also create jobs, boost investment, and be a boon to small businesses.   

  Read More >>

Posted by Erin Humiston | Comments

 

Total Records: 49

 

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