Intellectual Property-Related Trade Preferential Trade Agreements and the Composition of Trade

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Keith E. Maskus
20 Apr 2018 (Friday)
3:30 - 5:00 pm
Conference Room 5047 (5th floor, Lee Shau Kee Business Building, HKUST)

Live Broadcast

Event Summary

In recent decades we have seen an unprecedented expansion and harmonization of intellectual property rights protection (IPRs). IPRs are themselves subject to significant globalization and are attached to virtually all international transactions. They were first introduced to the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the demand of the US, EU and Japan via a multilateral Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Since the establishments of TRIPS, preferential trade agreements (PTAs) increasingly feature additional chapters on related regulation areas as well as intellectual property chapters: as of 2015, 50 PTAs have IP chapters of varying complexity. All of this suggests a potentially rich area for trade research on the economic effects of IPRs (and regulatory chapters) of PTAs.

In his academic seminar, Keith Maskus (University of Colorado) presented research looking at how preferential trade agreements (PTAs) with complex chapters covering intellectual property rights (IPRs) affect the composition of trade. Despite the proliferation of PTAs with strong IPRs standards, their effects on the trade of member countries has not been studied. The research finds a largely negative outcome: controlling for TRIPS, additional effects of IP-related PTA (IPA) membership on aggregate and bilateral sectoral trade are mostly insignificant. There are, however, notable exceptions in some sectors: i) In IPAs, imports of low-IP goods fall in LI countries and exports of low-IP goods fall at higher income levels. ii) Exports of biopharmaceuticals and medical devices are stimulated among high income countries by IPA membership in these agreements. iii) Exports of biopharmaceuticals and information-communication technologies are stimulated among upper middle income countries by IPA membership in these agreements. IPRs in IP-related PTAs are “trade related” in this limited but important context.

This research is conducted by Keith E. Maskus and William Ridley.

Presentation Slides

About the Speaker

Keith E. Maskus is an Arts and Sciences Professor of Distinction and Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. He was Associate Dean for Social Sciences at CU Boulder from 2007-2013. He has been a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank. He is also a Research Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Fellow at the Kiel Institute for World Economics, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Adelaide and the University of Bocconi, and a visiting scholar at the CES-Ifo Institute at the University of Munich and the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University. He serves also as a consultant for the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Maskus recently chaired a panel of the National Academy of Sciences on intellectual property management in standards-setting organizations. Maskus received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1981 and has written extensively about various aspects of international trade. His current research focuses on the international economic aspects of protecting intellectual property rights. He is the author of Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Economy, published by the Institute for International Economics, and co-editor of International Public Goods and the Transfer of Technology under a Globalized Intellectual Property Regime, published by Cambridge University Press. He recently wrote a piece analyzing the need for reforms in U.S. patent policy, published by the Council on Foreign Relations. A new volume, Private Rights and Public Problems: The Global Economics of Intellectual Property in the 21st Century, was published in 2012 by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

This academic seminar is jointly organized by HKUST IEMS and Department of Economics.

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