Draft Resolution Urging the Presidential Administration and Congress to Support Stronger Intellectual Property Protections in an Updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was negotiated before intellectual property (IP)-intensive industries made up such a significant portion of U.S. GDP and when IP provisions in trade agreements were weaker than they tend to be in current agreements that the U.S. negotiates. As the current Administration strongly favors renegotiating NAFTA, stronger intellectual property protections should be part of the resulting renegotiated agreement.

Draft Resolution Urging the Presidential Administration and Congress to Support Stronger Intellectual Property Protections in an Updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Whereas, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) policy on free trade acknowledges that, “the imposition of artificial barriers to free and open trade…are deterrents to American economic interests;” and

Whereas, the United States, Canada and Mexico share a belief in freedom, representative democracy and market principles as recognized in the U.S. Constitution; and

Whereas, trade within the NAFTA bloc is made up predominantly of intellectual property (IP)-intensive goods and services that employ millions of Americans in high paying jobs and generate billions of dollars in economic output; and

Whereas, many of the IP-intensive goods, services and exchanges through which trade is facilitated in the NAFTA bloc did not exist when the agreement was drafted and this situation has resulted in uneven and weak IP enforcement; and

Whereas, trade agreements are the most appropriate mechanism to harmonize and strengthen IP rights protections ensuring domestic and foreign business are on the same equal footing before the law; and

Whereas, stringent enforcement of IP rights has been found to correlate closely with greater household income, Foreign Direct Investment, and Gross Domestic Product; and

Whereas, IP rights promote greater public welfare by limiting the ability of governments to intervene in the marketplace allowing exchanges to be based on fair competition and clear market signals; and

Whereas, Article 27 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights ensures “everyone the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” as well as the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that the United States is a party to encourage greater IP protections; and

Whereas, weak, or “balanced” IP regimes that seek exceptions are fundamentally flawed and go against the spirit of past trade agreements as well as specific treaties; now

Therefore be it resolved, that ALEC supports international free trade and the continuation of strengthening the intellectual property provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); and

Be it further resolved, that ALEC urges the President of the United States and the Congress of the United States to modernize NAFTA and to update and improve the agreement; and

Be it further resolved, that upon adoption, an official copy of this Resolution be prepared and presented to the President of the United States, to the Chairmen and Ranking members, and all other members of the U.S. Senate Finance and the U.S. House Ways and Means Committees, to the members of the Senate and House Advisory Groups on Negotiations, to the U.S. Trade Representative, to the U.S. Secretaries of Commerce, State, and Labor, to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.