Intellectual Property and the New Trade Agreements

The Democrats “shrewdly” are agreeing with Bush on new trade agreements.  Just like in NAFTA days they have made the adminsitration agree to strong (read toothless) protection for the environment and labor rights — much stronger however are the demands for Intellectual Property Rights.

“Our recent free-trade agreement with South Korea is a good example. Most of the deal is concerned with lowering tariffs, opening markets to competition, and the like, but an important chunk has nothing to do with free trade at all. Instead, it requires South Korea to rewrite its rules on intellectual property, or I.P.—the rules that deal with patents, copyright, and so on. South Korea will now have to adopt the U.S. and E.U. definition of copyright—extending it to seventy years after the death of the author. South Korea will also have to change its rules on patents, and may have to change its national-health-care policy of reimbursing patients only for certain drugs. All these changes will give current patent and copyright holders stronger protection for longer. Recent free-trade agreements with Peru and Colombia insisted on much the same terms. And CAFTA—a free-trade agreement with countries in Central America and the Caribbean—included not just longer copyright and trademark protection but also a dramatic revision in those countries’ patent policies.”

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2007/05/14…

2 comments so far

  1. Eubulides on

    US law firms currently have a comparative advantage in getting their government to impose IP norms on the rest of the planet.

    Not that we don’t have a non-circular definition/explanation of comparative advantage…..

  2. d on

    speaking of seeking “comparative advantage” in a global economy

    have you seen this?

    An Economist View of the French Election
    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/needtoknow/2007/04/an_economist_view_of_the_frenc.html


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