During a Town Hall event at Taylor’s University on Friday, November 21 with a group of 500 young leaders from across Southeast Asia, President Obama discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in response to a question from a young Malaysian in the audience. Specifically, the President discussed the role of intellectual property rights in the pharmaceutical industry. He highlighted the balance struck in the TPP between intellectual property right protections for drug manufacturers and protection for generic drugs for low income persons. President Obama emphasized this balance when he stated, “part of our job is to promote the U.S. drug industry, but part of our job is also to be good partners with countries that have people who are sick. And we’ve got to make sure that they also are able to get access to drugs…..And over time, we actually believe that the cost of drugs are going to go down in many countries that currently have a lot of barriers in terms of those drugs.”
As the President also said yesterday during his remarks at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, this historic trade agreement is a win for all 12 TPP countries. By eliminating tens of thousands of tariffs on goods, TPP removes old barriers and opens new markets. TPP is a win for the kind of trade that companies and workers in all 12 countries need to compete in the 21st century. It makes sure that globalization is working for us, and not against us. Today ASEAN is one of the largest markets in the world for U.S. exports, and American businesses invest more in ASEAN than investors from any other region. The historic TPP agreement is another example of how the United States is deepening and broadening its engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, including here in Southeast Asia.
For a full transcript of President Obama’s remarks to Southeast Asian Youth on Friday, see https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/20/remarks-president-yseali-town-hall.