Press Release

ALEC Applauds Intellectual Property Provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

Anna Tarnawski

ALEC Applauds Intellectual Property Provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

ARLINGTON, VA (October 18, 2018) – ALEC commends the Administration for the seamless continuation of a trade framework that includes all three North American economic partners and applauds the intellectual property (IP) provisions included in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The IP provisions in USMCA are the most comprehensive of any multilateral U.S. trade agreement, including the former TPP, and are vastly superior to those in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

ALEC has long recognized the vital role that strong IP protections play in America’s innovation economy and is particularly heartened by USMCA IP provisions including:

  • The most comprehensive enforcement measures of any existing trade framework including protections to prevent trade in goods that are suspected of being pirated or counterfeited and criminal penalties for the unauthorized camcording of movies;
  • Civil and criminal remedies to protect rights’ holders from trade secret theft – the first of their kind in a free trade agreement;
  • Strengthened patent enforcement mechanism;
  • Extension of copyright terms to 75 years to protect digital music, books and movies;
  • Establishment of copyright safe harbors to protect IP and provide predictability for legitimate enterprises that do not directly benefit from the infringement; and
  • A minimum of ten years of regulatory data protection for biologic drugs and an expanded definition of products covered.

Since more than half of new drugs are developed in the United States at great cost to innovators, the protections of pharmaceutical IP will free up resources for more lifesaving and life enhancing research. These measures also protect American jobs.

“IP-intensive jobs tend to pay better than the national average, and they are found in every state. The pharmaceutical industry alone employs 800,000 U.S. workers and supports more than 4.7 million American jobs.”

Representative Bob Thorpe (AZ), Chairman ALEC Intellectual Property Subcommittee

ALEC adopted model policies in 2017 calling for NAFTA modernization and for the strengthening of IP provisions in NAFTA. Those model policies can be found here and here.

“While ALEC would like to see a resolution to the U.S. Section 232 tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum, strengthening the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism and extending coverage to US-Canada government procurement, among other recommendations, the strengthened and enforceable IP provisions are an excellent addition to the United States’ trade relationship with our North American neighbors and vital economic partners.”

— Ms. Karla Jones, ALEC Director of International Relations


 The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit:

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