Ideas and knowledge are an increasingly important part of international trade. Most of the value of new and high technology products lies in the amount of invention, innovation, research and design involved. The WTO's TRIPS Agreement is an attempt to narrow the gaps in the way these rights are protected around the world, and to bring them under common international rules.
Today, creators can be given the right to prevent others from using their inventions, designs or other creations - and to use that right to negotiate payment in return for others using them, which will in effect facilitate their international transactions.
This paper confirms the increasing importance of intellectual property rights in international transactions by focusing on royalties and licenses fees account in the balance of payments statistics.