Session IV: Fair Use and Other Exceptions (Stan McCoy)

McCoy, Stan

Let me begin by inviting you to think about the purpose of the trade agreement. Contrary to what you might gather from watching our current presidential election, a trade agreement is not some kind of business transaction where the U.S. comes to, say, New Zealand and says, “Hey, we’ve got a lot of movies, you’ve got a lot of powdered milk, let’s do a deal.” It doesn’t quite work that way. Recall some of the words that Probir used this morning when he was describing the achievements of the TPP: ‘coherence,’ “consistency,” “stability,” and “transparency.” He called it a platform for standards. Eric talked about facilitation and harmonization. In line with those remarks, you can think of trade agreements not as business transactions, but as bargains. Bargains that seek to balance national interests in crafting a shared, rules-based mechanism to provide an environment of certainty and transparency so that business transactions can occur. In fact, we value certainty and transparency so much in international trade negotiations that even when countries can’t agree to eliminate a trade barrier, they often perceive value in just cataloguing it, stabilizing it, writing it down, making it transparent, and making sure it doesn’t get any worse.


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Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts

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November 3, 2017


These remarks are a transcript of a talk that was given on October 14, 2016, at the Kernochan Center Annual Symposium at Columbia Law School.