Intellectual property (IP) and data constitute the essential capital stocks of the knowledge-based and data-driven economy. These intangible capital stocks are not, however, represented in the workhorse models used to assess the impact of international trade agreements. As a result, it is not possible — using conventional tools — to evaluate the impact of treaty obligations in respect of IP protection, e-commerce and data; foreign direct investment in the knowledge-based sectors; and competition. Canada has recently implemented the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, is engaged in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is in exploratory talks with China. The parties to these treaties dominate the knowledge-based and data-driven economy, yet none of these treaties/negotiations has been evaluated for its impact on Canada’s knowledge-based and data-driven economy, nor is it possible to show the treaties’ value in these areas of the twenty-first-century economy for the partner economies. This represents a serious gap in Canada’s ability to form evidence-based trade policy and to negotiate effectively. These considerations establish a prima facie case for urgent development of a quantitative framework to assess Canadian trade policies affecting the knowledge-based and data-driven economy. This paper develops this argument.

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CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.