Alumnus at U.S. Chamber strives to protect international property


July 11, 2013

When Jasper MacSlarrow, (BA, 1999, International Studies), graduated from the Jackson School in 1999, he bought a one-way ticket to Washington, D.C., determined to find work. He had already lined up an unpaid internship in Sen. Patty Murray’s office, but he knew he needed to find something to pay the bills.

Jasper MacSlarrowWith help from Murray’s office, MacSlarrow landed a position with Sen. Paul Sarbanes’ office (D-Maryland), where he worked for three years as a legislative correspondent before joining Rep. Rick Larsen’s (D-Washington) staff. MacSlarrow worked with Larsen for 10 years, both in his D.C. office and his district office in Bellingham, Wash.

Working with Larsen, who is a leader in the House on U.S. – China relations, he organized and led delegations to China as part of the congressional U.S.-China Working Group. The experience helped him discover a passion for the Asia Pacific and for international trade.

MacSlarrow’s experience in Asia dates back to middle school and high school when his family lived in Hong Kong and he attended Hong Kong International School. “Those were very formative years for me,” he said.

After working with Larsen and completing a master’s degree in political science at Western Washington University, he returned to Washington, D.C., this time with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as director of international intellectual property for China.

MacSlarrow said that China has made strides to fight intellectual property violations at the policy level, but that on-the-ground enforcement remains weak.

MacSlarrow was recently promoted to oversee international intellectual property as executive director.

He said intellectual property protections are important for jobs and innovation, as well as consumer safety. For example, if a knock-off medication is being sold as a cancer drug, that’s dangerous, he said.

To help businesses and governments assess IP risk for specific countries, the U.S. Chamber has created an international IP index, which it updates annually. The index lists IP strengths and weaknesses of countries that U.S. businesses may want to have a trade relationship with.

MacSlarrow said that even two years ago he wouldn’t have guessed he would be working at the U.S. Chamber.

“What I’ve found is, if you do what you want to do, the doors will open,” he said. “So I just encourage students to take the courses you’re interested in. Follow your passions.”

MacSlarrow values the interactions he had with his professors at the Jackson School.
“NATO, China, Japan – whatever your interest, Jackson School has a professor,” MacSlarrow said. “I always found that fascinating – to have access to these sources.”

- By Kristina Bowman, kriscb@uw.edu