Innovation, Trade and IPRs: Implications for Trade Negotiations
15 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2016
Date Written: March 2016
Innovation is often considered the cornerstone of modern economic growth. In the same vein, international trade has traditionally been characterized as the handmaiden of growth. Yet, the relationship between innovation and trade is a complex one. This paper discusses how innovation-leaders (e.g., the USA), innovation-followers (e.g., Brazil), and globalizers (e.g., Vietnam) see the role of trade policies in affecting their innovation strategies. Attention is devoted in particular to the “marriage of convenience” between trade and intellectual property rights (IPRs) laws as negotiated in the context of trade agreements. The experiences of negotiating IPRs protection via multilateral (e.g., TRIPS/WTO) and preferential (e.g., TPP) agreements will be contrasted and the argument will be made that even among like-minded countries these negotiations are inevitably characterized by significant controversy. The paper also discusses to what extent the increased emphasis on innovation in terms of growth strategies is making the goal of promoting higher standards of IPRs protection easier to advance via trade agreements.
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