ATR & PRA Call on NAFTA Negotiators to Include Strong IP Protections

Property Rights Alliance has joined Americans for Tax Reform in a letter to the chief negotiators of the North American Free Trade Agreement to call for stronger IP protections and a commitment to free trade in a reworked agreement. 

The global economy has changed substantially since NAFTA was entered into agreement in 1994. Capital is more mobile, the economy is more digitized, and IP-intensive industries compose more of global trade. In fact, in the NAFTA bloc, trade in IP-intensive industries comprises over half of trade volume between members. 

With IP-intensive products such as music, medicines, and pharmaceuticals being such an important component of trade between NAFTA members, it is imperative that NAFTA provisions are updated to adequately protect intellectual property rights. Studies have shown that countries with strong protection of IP have higher levels of growth, higher GDPs per capita, and stronger development. Without such protections, innovation is stifled, entrepreneurs are hurt, and economies do not perform at their maximum potential.

When renegotiating NAFTA, it is important to realize abuses of intellectual property rights that currently occur in the NAFTA bloc. For example, Mexico is currently the second largest market for illicit recording of films. In 2017 alone, 81 American films were illegally recorded in Mexico. In Canada, innovative medicines are undervalued and there is a longer time for reimbursement for these medicines compared to others.  

Stronger intellectual property rights provisions in a reworked NAFTA will go a long way to remedying these violations on the rights of content creators. These provisions will benefit all parties involved by harmonizing IP provisions, and creating a level playing field for rights holders across borders.  

To see the full letter, click here.