[Ip-health] Inside US Trade: Ways And Means Democrats Skeptical Of New USTR IPR Approach In TPP

Michael Palmedo mpalmedo at wcl.american.edu
Fri Oct 7 07:18:39 PDT 2011



Inside U.S. Trade - 10/07/2011 

Ways And Means Democrats Skeptical Of New USTR IPR Approach In TPP 

Posted: October 6, 2011 

Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) and Rep. Jim
McDermott (D-WA), who is the ranking member on the trade subcommittee,
this week signaled their doubts about a new approach for patent
protections that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is
proposing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.

"We are in discussion with USTR on that very subject," Levin said, when
asked about the new USTR approach. "They think it is better. I want to
be sure it is at least as good. I'm not convinced yet." He made his
remarks following the Oct. 5 committee markup of the pending free trade

During the markup, McDermott was even more critical in his response. "It
doesn't look good to me," he said. "Their intention is clearly to erode
the May 10 agreement," he said, in reference to patent protections
worked out in 2007 between House Democrats and the Bush administration.

These provisions were incorporated into trade deals with Panama,
Colombia and Peru.

The U.S. proposal on pharmaceutical patent provisions in the TPP talks,
tabled last month during the eighth round of talks, moves away from
patent provisions contained in the May 10 deal and offers pharmaceutical
companies at least the possibility of enjoying stronger patent
protections if they follow certain steps (Inside U.S. Trade, Sept. 16).

The two Democrats offered more neutral reactions to administration
efforts to craft disciplines for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which
is another hot topic in the TPP talks. Levin said USTR is still in the
process of crafting SOE disciplines. "We are working closely with them,"
he said.

Informed sources said this week that the administration has posted a new
draft of its SOE proposal for cleared advisers, which they will review.
The administration was poised to issue an SOE proposal during the last
round of talks, but then held off at the last minute due to outcry from
the business community (Inside U.S. Trade, Sept. 30).

McDermott said he has not started to examine the SOE issue in detail
yet, but pointed out that he would study up on critical TPP issues in
advance of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in
mid-November, which he is planning to attend, along with Rep. Kevin
Brady (R-TX).



Mike Palmedo

Assistant Director

Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property

American University Washington College of Law

4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20016

T - 202-2274-4442 | F - 202-274-4495

mpalmedo at wcl.american.edu



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