U.S. Companies Face a Rough Road on Trade

U.S. Companies Face a Rough Road on Trade
Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP, File

In October 2015, as President Barack Obama was hoping to rush the newly signed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal through Congress, he invited leaders of the pharmaceutical industry to the White House. The industry had emerged as a key obstacle to the largest free trade agreement in history, insisting that TPP didn't provide enough protection for an expensive class of nature-based drugs called biologics.

In fact, Obama's negotiators had already fought hard to protect U.S. drug manufacturers in the TPP deal, securing protections that almost all the other 11 TPP nations opposed. For biologic drugs, they had won eight years of market exclusivity, insulating American-made name-brand products from competition from generic knockoffs

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