Trump Highlights IP, Trade, Drug Prices In Speech To Congress 06/02/2019 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)President Donald Trump gave the US Congress a rosy, nationalistic presentation of the condition of the US economy and security last night and amid the range of issues raised, mentioned intellectual property twice in the context of trade, and extensively discussed lowering drug prices. President Trump delivers the State of the Union speech last night On intellectual property, Trump took jabs at China, and at neighbours Mexico and Canada. “We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” he said. “Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion dollars of Chinese goods — and now our Treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars.” He did not mention that those paying into the Treasury are US businesses and, ultimately, consumers. The US tariffs on China are subject of a World Trade Organization dispute. He also continued his style of criticising others while at the same time professing friendship or respect toward them. “But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us — I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen,” he said. “I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.” The second mention of IP came in the context of the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation. “Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA,” he said. “Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement – the USMCA – will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers like they haven’t had delivered to in a long time. I hope you can pass the U.S.M.C.A. into law, so we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with the four beautiful words: Made in the USA.” He offered no further details on the IP references. It is notable that Trump will need to get the USMCA through the House of Representatives, which is now controlled by the Democrats. And while promoting trade with the United States’ two largest trading partners, he has also sown significant division with both Mexico and Canada. Drug Pricing Then Trump went on at some length (in an hour and 20 minute speech) about cutting prices of drugs for Americans, an issue that presumably not only plays to his working class base but could be attractive to Democrats on the other side of the aisle. It is ironic, however, that some of the goals he cited were included in the health care plan passed by President Obama, which Trump has been working vigorously to undo. “The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs — and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions,” he said. “Already, as a result of my administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.” In aiming to lower drug prices within the US, one object might be to raise prices abroad. “But we must do more,” he said. “It’s unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, this is unfair, and together we will stop it. And we will stop it fast. I am asking Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients. Finally.” And he appeared to call for transparency in pricing, a hotspot in global negotiations. “We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs way down. No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom,” he said. Meanwhile, Trump promised massive federal dollars for cancer research, highlighting childhood cancers. “Many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades,” he said. “My budget will ask Congress for $500 million dollars over the next 10 years to fund this critical life-saving research.” Separately, it might be noted that while Trump made a couple of oblique references to innovation in America, he did not specify technological areas, like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, or digital advances. [Update: a “fact-check” on Trump’s claims about drug pricing has been provided by Health GAP, available here.] Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."Trump Highlights IP, Trade, Drug Prices In Speech To Congress" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.