As the 2012 London Olympics came to a close Sunday night, I couldn't help but marvel at the grand scope of the games. From all over the world, athletes came together to compete to bring pride and glory for themselves, their families, and their countries. Becoming an Olympic athlete requires talent and determination, but also a willingness to abide by the rules of competition. In that way, it's not too different from any other international competition. Whether the Olympics or economics, fair global competition requires that all participants play by the same rules, and compete on a level playing field.
Trade agreements provide the rules of the global marketplace. And, as in in sports, the rules can only go so far. On the one hand, rules may benefit certain competitors; while on the other hand, some players may choose not to follow the rules at all. So, how can we ensure that foreign competitors don't have an unfair advantage?
- Strong Intellectual Property Protection - If shaped within a thorough global intellectual property (IP) protection framework, trade policies can incentivize innovation. Strong intellectual property protections help promote investments into the research that provides innovative, life-saving, and life-enhancing medicines.
- Enforcement for Violations - Unfortunately, some countries have enacted policies that violate international treaties by undermining intellectual property rights in favor of domestic companies. Adequate enforcement of punitive measures against these discriminatory policies must remain a key priority of U.S. engagement with international trade.
For Lilly, strong intellectual property protection translates into the ability to produce innovative medicines to address the health challenges of today and tomorrow. As negotiations continue on international trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the U.S. Trade Representative must continue to push for high IPR standards. Like our Olympic athletes, American companies deserve the chance to compete fairly against their competition on an even playing field.