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Senators want tough IP standards in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

"A robust knowledge economy provides the United States with one of our largest sources of competitive advantage, and intellectual property is the engine that drives it," they wrote.

"Put bluntly, intellectual property equals jobs." 

The letter, signed by nine Democrats, calls on the administration to reject efforts to weaken intellectual property protections and include standards similar to those in the U.S.-South Korean trade deal, ensuring the standards apply to all participants in the TPP deal. 

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"A TPP agreement with strong protections for intellectual property promises to be an important means of ensuring that U.S. companies can continue to innovate and grow in this global economy, thereby allowing us to retain high-quality skilled jobs here in the United States," they wrote. 

The senators expressed support for a trade agreement "that includes high standards in all sectors, including the innovative biopharmaceutical, creative copyright, and other intellectual property-intensive sectors," the letter said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) expressed support for the push to ensure tough standards. 

“With the United States and eight other countries engaged in the negotiations, the TPP is envisioned as a cutting-edge trade accord that will serve as a doorway through which American exporters can better access the booming markets of Asia,” said Mark Elliot, GIPC’s executive vice president. 

A November meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders is scheduled in Hawaii.

Besides Hatch and Cantwell, Republicans signing the letter were Sens. 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Independent Joe Lieberman (Conn.) also signed.