[Ip-health] IUT: US May Not Table TPP Texts In All 'May 10' Issues By Singapore Round
pmaybarduk at citizen.org
Fri Mar 4 10:29:01 PST 2011
Inside U.S. Trade - 03/04/2011
USTR May Not Table TPP Texts In All 'May 10' Issues By Singapore Round
Posted: March 3, 2011
In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, the United States has thus far held off on tabling any legal text on the "May 10" issues -- which are labor rights, environmental protections, and patent protections -- and is still conducting consultations on those issues, according to a U.S. trade official.
While the U.S. is looking to move forward on these issues, the official signaled that it may not be possible to table proposed text in all of these areas by the time of the upcoming Singapore round of negotiations, which is slated to start late this month. It may be hard to table all these texts in that timetable, the official said.
The U.S. has not tabled any text on labor rights or environmental protections, but has previously signaled its hope that it could table a labor rights chapter by the Singapore round. The U.S. has tabled parts of an intellectual property rights (IPR) chapter, but that partial text did not cover the May 10 issues (Inside U.S. Trade, Feb. 18).
The May 10 IPR issues are patent term extension, patent linkage and data exclusivity. In bilateral trade deals with Colombia, Peru and Panama, intellectual property protections in each of those areas were loosened under a deal struck by the Bush administration and House Democrats.
U.S. pharmaceutical companies are eager to ensure that the TPP agreement does not adhere to these May 10 changed provisions, and instead reflect stronger provisions in other U.S. trade deals (Inside U.S. Trade, March 6).
In an interview, the U.S. trade official said the exact schedule for the Singapore round is not yet clear, as Singapore has not send out an official schedule. That round was previously scheduled for March 28 until April 2, but TPP partners agreed earlier this month to extend the length of time negotiators meet in Singapore to intensify the negotiations.
The official said partners have discussed starting that round earlier and ending it later than previously envisioned.
Leading up to the next round, the official said negotiators have agreed to a detailed work plan across many negotiating areas. In areas where text is already on the table, negotiators will look to revise and add to the text in order to create new, consolidated texts before the Singapore round, the official said.
In areas where there is not text, negotiators will try to get text on the table. A Chilean official last month said in an interview that negotiators were hoping to have text on the table in almost all areas by the Singapore round.
The U.S. has also still not tabled texts in most of the "horizontal" issues in the TPP negotiations, although the official said the U.S. hopes to table text in areas like regulatory coherence by the time of the Singapore round. The only horizontal text the U.S. has thus far tabled is in the area of competitiveness/business facilitation, the official said.
The U.S. tabled that text during the fifth round of negotiations earlier this month, and so it is not yet a consolidated, bracketed text, the official explained.
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