This week, a conference committee reported out H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. This bill will provide much needed tools for the Customs and Border Control (CBP) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to ensure that U.S. trade and intellectual property interests are protected around the world. The Conference Report for the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 reconciles the differences between the House and Senate bills, formally authorizes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, facilitates the legitimate trade of goods, and combats violations of U.S. trade laws.
Among the many items in the bill are two of particular importance to biopharmaceutical innovators and the patients they serve:
-One establishes a presidentially appointed Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator in USTR, who will conduct trade negotiations and enforce trade agreements with respect to U.S. intellectual property as well as take appropriate actions to address foreign acts, policies, and practices with a significant adverse impact on the value of U.S. innovation;
-The other establishes a National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center to prevent the import and export of infringing goods and requires CBP to work with intellectual property owners to make sure that counterfeit goods will be properly identified and disposed.
These provisions will help protect patients and consumers by preventing trade in counterfeit medicines and other infringing goods. The new position at USTR will help promote strong rules abroad that protect American innovations and the many jobs they support. It will demonstrate our nation is serious about ensuring overseas trading partners live up to their commitments.
Mark Grayson Mark Grayson is a former deputy vice president of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on intellectual property, trade and international issues.