Canada is not the first country that comes to mind as a threat to U.S. trade. After all, Canada is our largest goods trading partner, with $632 billion in total goods traded bilaterally during 2013. . . Over the last decade U.S. pharmaceutical companies have faced trade challenges in the form of a narrow interpretation of patent eligibility in Canada. Canada’s patent utility provisions are a serious threat to U.S. innovative industries, and therefore are legitimately being raised in NAFTA’s dispute settlement system.
Over the past few months, a groundswell of voices in the U.S. business community and U.S. Government has arisen to express frustration with India’s IPR policies. In May, USTR’s annual Special 301 Report highlighted India for the 24th consecutive year, citing growing challenges to IPR protection which raise “serious questions regarding the future condition of the innovation climate in India across multiple sectors and disciplines.” In June, the Alliance for Fair Trade with India was launched by over a dozen leading U.S. business associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, to bring attention to India’s discriminatory trade practices, including the erosion of IPR in India. In July, Vice President Joe Biden cited IPR protection as an obstacle to expanded U.S.-India trade. Following a hearing on how India’s industrial policies are hurting U.S. companies, House Energy & Commerce Trade Subcommittee Chair Lee Terry (R-NE) introduced legislation in September to block duty-free access to U.S. markets for countries without adequate protection for intellectual property.