ITIF Report Calls for U.S. Trade Negotiators to Craft a 'Gold-Standard' Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

August 28, 2012


Washington, D.C. (August 28, 2012) - Entering into a sub-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that offers only weak intellectual property (IP) protections or permits countries to maintain mercantilist practices would be far worse than not joining the agreement, according to a report, Ensuring the Trans-Pacific Partnership Becomes a Gold-Standard Trade Agreement, released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

U.S. trade negotiators should insist the TPP include the highest levels of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, transparency in government procurement practices, removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), comprehensive market access provisions, and stringent enforcement mechanisms. All are critical to empower U.S. enterprises, create jobs, increase exports, and build the economy for the future. If the TPP is anything less than a gold-standard trade agreement, ITIF calls on the United States to keep negotiating.

"ITIF believes that it's more important to get the TPP right than to get it done right away," said ITIF Senior Analyst Stephen Ezell, the report's chief author. "This is an opportunity to raise the bar and not merely codify the status quo. It would be a grave mistake for the United States to enter into a weak or substandard trade agreement." 

The report notes that intellectual property is essential to America's economic recovery, and the combination of expanded free trade in the context of strong IP rights is a powerful driver of innovation that spurs development of novel products and services. If TPP-member countries hope for innovation to flourish, then they should seek to secure strong IP rights protections.

"The TPP represents the United States' most important trade agreement negotiation of the past decade, and will help set the terms of trade in the Asia-Pacific region for many years to come," said former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky. "It is critical that the U.S focus on negotiating a high-standard agreement that promotes innovation - which is the life-blood of our economy and our international competitiveness - by creating market opportunities for 21st Century industries, avoiding free-riding on U.S. innovation through strong IP rules, and limiting government interference in the market."  


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank at the cutting edge of designing innovation strategies and technology policies to create economic opportunities and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. Founded in 2006, ITIF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization that documents the beneficial role technology plays in our lives and provides fact-based analysis and pragmatic ideas for improving technology-driven productivity, boosting competitiveness, and meeting today's global challenges through innovation. For additional information, visit ITIF at or contact Steve Norton at (202) 626-5758 or

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