Stephen Kho Discusses U.S. Trade Negotiations with MCC

The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel interviewed Akin Gump international trade partner Stephen Kho on his experience in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and as legal advisor to the U.S. mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as on prospects for ongoing and upcoming international trade negotiations for the United States.

Regarding the Obama administration’s trade goals during the president’s second term, Kho notes, “The President is focusing on two major free trade negotiations that are already underway – the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the Europe-U.S. bilateral agreement. Now that it has been announced that Japan will join the TPP [see related press release here], this will add a significant market access component to these negotiations.”

On the status of global protection of IP under the WTO, he says, “In my view the rules have become stagnant. The TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement in the WTO was always intended to be just a floor, and we’ve never gotten beyond that floor. There have been attempts with the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and some of the FTAs to provide more protection, but there has always been resistance.”

Regarding China and the WTO, Kho states, “China has become much more rule-oriented post-WTO accession. It’s hard to break cultural and other practices that have gone on for thousands of years, but China realizes that it has to be held to international rules and norms. They have a long way still to go, but we do see big steps being taken.”

To read the full interview, please click here .