[Ip-health] Forbes: US Fails To Close TPP Deal As Wikileaks Exposes Discord

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Dec 10 22:35:03 PST 2013


TECH <http://www.forbes.com/technology> | 12/10/2013 @ 9:28AM |13,258 viewsUS
Fails To Close TPP Deal As Wikileaks Exposes Discord

The latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have
failed to lead to a resolution, with ministers confirming that debate is
likely to continue into next year.

The announcement comes as Wikileaks releases an internal
 andspreadsheet <http://wikileaks.org/IMG/pdf/tpp-salt-lake-positions.pdf>,
revealing that the US is putting heavy pressure on other nations to conform
with its demands.

Following four days of talks in Singapore, the heads of the various
delegations have today released a statement saying that while they’ve
identified what they call “potential landing zones” for the areas that
remain contentious, they have failed to reach a resolution as hoped.

“Therefore, we have decided to continue our intensive work in the coming
weeks toward such an agreement,” they say. “We will also further our
consultations with stakeholders and engage in our respective political
processes. Following additional work by negotiators, we intend to meet
again next month.”

The statement coincides with the release of two more documents from
Wikileaks which reveal just how far apart the US is from the other nations
involved in the treaty, with 19 points of disagreement in the area of
intellectual property alone. One of the documents speaks of “great
pressure” being applied by the US.

Australia in particular is standing firm, objecting to the US’ proposals
for copyright protection, parallel importation proposals and
criminalization of copyright infringement. It’s also opposed to a measure
supported by all the other nations involved to limit the liability of ISPs
for copyright infringement by their users. Japan, too – which only joined
the talks in March – has vowed to protect its agricultural markets, which
the US wishes to see opened up.

But the TPP is causing increasing disquiet in the US, as well as around the
world. Over the weekend, campaign group Knowledge Ecology
revealed that Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of theColumbia
 School of Business<http://www.forbes.com/colleges/university-of-connecticut/school-of-business/>
 has written <http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/jstiglitzTPP.pdf> to
the negotiators, calling on them to resist a tranche of measures that he
says would weaken the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public

These include extending patent terms and lowering the threshold for
patentability of medicines, making surgical procedures patentable and
mandating monopolies of 12 years on test data for biologic drugs. He also
objects to the granting of compulsory licenses on patents, increasing
damages for patent and copyright infringement, placing lower limits on
injunctions, narrowing copyright exceptions and extending copyright
protection to life plus 70 years.

“The TPP proposes to freeze into a binding trade agreement many of the
worst features of the worst laws in the TPP countries, making needed
reforms extremely difficult if not impossible,” he writes.

His sentiments are echoed by 29 organizations and more than 70 other
individuals in a separate letter.

“The primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access
to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound
recordings and other works that are ‘owned’ but largely not commercialized,
forgotten, and lost,” they say. “The extended terms are also costly to
consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners
that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.”

The failure of the talks to reach agreement is a major blow for the US,
which hoped to see the deal largely wrapped up by now. The ministers say
they’ll meet again next month, but haven’t set any new timeline for
completion. And with many of the outstanding issues having been aired for
months, it’s hard to see how full agreement will be reached any time soon.

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