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Strong IP in U.S. Trade Policy Benefits American Workers, New Report Shows

A new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) highlights the need for a U.S. trade agenda that focuses on competitiveness and upholding robust IP protections around the world. ITIF argues that the U.S. Administration has an opportunity to shift to a trade agenda that both puts workers and competitiveness at the forefront, and not jeopardize the country’s innovation leadership.

ITIF articulates the need to boost competitiveness to support U.S. economic interests and jobs – with intellectual property (IP) protection as a key mechanism to protect workers and propel a U.S. trade agenda that will drive wage growth and security for Americans.

ITIF notes that innovation lies at the heart of growth, and the ability to protect ideas and products is tied directly to an organization’s stability and job security. IP protections in trade agreements help prevent foreign theft of IP. Given that there has been massive growth in IP-enabled industries, which offer workers good, high-paying jobs, it makes sense that many U.S. union leaders support strong IP protections. Likewise, IP is crucial for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. As such, it is clear IP is fundamental to worker interests.  

“IP protection [is] a key mechanism for worker protection and central to a U.S. trade agenda that will drive wage growth and security for Americans. – ITIF”

In order to support a strong innovation ecosystem, ITIF recommends that the U.S. should embrace a combination of domestic and trade policies that bolster it’s global competitiveness and prioritize American workers. To do so, the report lays out several recommendations, three of which directly relate to IP:

  1. Trade: The U.S. currently serves as the world leader in IP support and should continue to do so. As the U.S. negotiates future trade agreements, it should continue to press for robust IP protections.
  2. IP Theft: Countering IP theft should be a priority for global cooperation, and the U.S. should engage like-minded partners to do so.
  3. Domestic Protection: The United States should also ensure that U.S. firms are able to protect themselves from IP theft.

IP protections have proven their merit in supporting both economic and workers’ interests. The U.S. should embrace a competitiveness-focused trade agenda that places strong emphasis on IP if the U.S. is to continue its trajectory as a global leader and protect the prosperity of its people.

See the complete report here.

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