WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2017 — Today, ACTION for Trade — a coalition of trade associations, technology companies, and creative organizations — sent a letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer urging him to advocate for provisions that support American creators and innovators in negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“The fact is that tens of millions of American jobs and many billions of dollars of exports depend on protecting our creative and innovative works in other countries, but too many of our trading partners – including Mexico and Canada – fail to uphold rules that fairly value that work,” said Brian Pomper, executive director of ACTION for Trade. “The NAFTA modernization negotiation is an opportunity to stand up for American creators and innovators.”
Creativity and innovation-based sectors propel American economic growth, jobs, and exports. IP-intensive industries added $6.6 trillion to the economy and accounted for 38 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, according to a 2016 U.S. Department of Commerce report. These industries also support nearly one in three American jobs. And, the use of IP rights accounted for the largest U.S. digital trade surplus of all services categories.
ACTION’s letter details several ways that NAFTA negotiators can strengthen IP. For instance, it presses negotiators to avoid overly broad “safe harbor” provisions that enable some Internet companies to profit from pirated content. The music industry alone loses up to $1 billion per year from such abuses. The coalition also outlines in the letter the importance of valuing innovation through market-based systems, transparent processes, and strong regulatory data protection.
“IP theft jeopardizes American jobs, innovation, and creativity”, said Pomper. “A successfully modernized NAFTA that protects IP will ensure that U.S. workers and U.S. companies flourish.”
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