[Ip-health] New Zealand Herald: Trade talks protests planned as NZ cautions over rights

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Dec 9 04:42:55 PST 2010


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10692352

<SNIP>

In a paper it submitted to the TPP group of nine countries, it says  
the negotiators should be "ready to maintain an open dialogue" with  
groups opposed to strengthening of IP rights and that it is taking on  
a significant political dimension in many societies.

<SNIP>

The effect of stronger IP provisions could threaten New Zealand's  
state-owned Pharmac agency, which decides which drugs will be  
Government subsidised, but thereby preventing a free trade in  
pharmaceuticals in New Zealand.
Prime Minister John Key took it one stage further and made the subsidy  
of a particular drug, herceptin for breast cancer, an election promise  
before the last election.

The Government's position on IP provisions is not a surprise but its  
canvassing of more political issues is.

The paper says that some of the groups opposing further strengthening  
of IP rights "are acutely aware of what they see as 'secret'  
negotiations to strengthen IP rights under [free trade agreements] and  
other international instruments".

"We will need to be ready to maintain an open dialogue with such  
groups."

<SNIP>

  Meanwhile Green party co-leader Russel Norman has condemned the  
submission of tobacco company Philip Morris on the TPP to the US Trade  
Representative about the "expropriation" of trademarks.

The company expresses concern about proposals - in Australia, for  
example - to remove branding from cigarette packets.

Dr Norman said a similar measure recommended recently by the Maori  
Affairs select committee inquiry would clearly fall foul of Philip  
Morris's view of their investment rights, too.



http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10692352

Trade talks protests planned as NZ cautions over rights
By Audrey Young
5:30 AM Monday Dec 6, 2010

Professor Jane Kelsey. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand has warned other countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific  
Strategic Economic Partnership that they need to be cautious about  
intellectual property provision of any deal, a leaked paper shows.

In a paper it submitted to the TPP group of nine countries, it says  
the negotiators should be "ready to maintain an open dialogue" with  
groups opposed to strengthening of IP rights and that it is taking on  
a significant political dimension in many societies.

The paper was released yesterday on the eve of the fourth round of TPP  
talks, beginning today in Auckland, by a Washington-based public  
advocacy group, Public Citizen.

Trade unions and anti-free trade activists are gearing up to give  
about 400 negotiating officials a frosty reception at SkyCity this  
morning, and plan to hold a series of seminars during the week.

Anti-free trade campaigner in New Zealand, Professor Jane Kelsey, has  
applauded both the leak as "hugely significant" and the New Zealand  
paper.

"Daylight is at last beginning to shine on these secretive  
negotiations," she said.

"But we shouldn't have to rely on leaks to be able to prepare expert  
analysis and generate informed debate about what our Governments are  
proposing."

Professor Kelsey and the Public Citizen Group argue New Zealand's  
position is a direct challenge to monopoly interests of the  
pharmaceutical industry which want stronger IP provisions than in the  
existing international IP treaty (Trips).

The effect of stronger IP provisions could threaten New Zealand's  
state-owned Pharmac agency, which decides which drugs will be  
Government subsidised, but thereby preventing a free trade in  
pharmaceuticals in New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key took it one stage further and made the subsidy  
of a particular drug, herceptin for breast cancer, an election promise  
before the last election.

The Government's position on IP provisions is not a surprise but its  
canvassing of more political issues is.

The paper says that some of the groups opposing further strengthening  
of IP rights "are acutely aware of what they see as 'secret'  
negotiations to strengthen IP rights under [free trade agreements] and  
other international instruments".

"We will need to be ready to maintain an open dialogue with such  
groups."

Professor Kelsey said the paper exposed a fundamental conflict between  
the New Zealand and United States positions on intellectual property.

She believed the paper's reference to the issues around IP taking on a  
significant political dimension were about internet-use laws, Maori  
intellectual property issues under the Wai 262 claim to the Waitangi  
Tribunal and the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Meanwhile Green party co-leader Russel Norman has condemned the  
submission of tobacco company Philip Morris on the TPP to the US Trade  
Representative about the "expropriation" of trademarks.

The company expresses concern about proposals - in Australia, for  
example - to remove branding from cigarette packets.

Dr Norman said a similar measure recommended recently by the Maori  
Affairs select committee inquiry would clearly fall foul of Philip  
Morris's view of their investment rights, too.

The tobacco company wanted investor-states dispute mechanisms to help  
protect its investments.

"Our Government should not be so stupid as to sign up to investor- 
states disputes mechanisms that allow foreign corporations to  
challenge our democratic laws," said Dr Norman.

Progress to a free trade pact

2001: NZ, Singapore sign Closer Economic Partnership 2005: Chile  
joins, creating P3 (Pacific 3) or Trans Pacific Strategic Economic  
Partnership 2005: Brunei joins making it P4 2008: US under Bush and  
Australia, Peru, Vietnam agree to negotiate 2009: Feb, Obama postpones  
talks 2009: Nov, Obama agrees to join talks 2010: Mar, round 1 in  
Melbourne 2010: June, round 2 in San Francisco 2010: Oct, Malaysia  
joins 2010: Oct, round 3 in Brunei 2010: Nov, Japan agrees to consider  
joining 2010: Dec, round 4 in Auckland

In the negotiations

New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Brunei, United States, Australia, Peru,  
Vietnam, Malaysia

By Audrey Young

------------------------------------------------------------


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org


Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997








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