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Controversy

Intellectual property provisions

There has been criticism of some provisions relating to the enforcement of patents and copyrights alleged to be present in leaked copies of the US proposal for the agreement:

The proposals have been accused of being excessively restrictive, providing intellectual property restraints beyond those in the Korea-US trade agreement and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

A number of United States Congresspeople, including Senator Bernard Sanders and Representatives Henry Waxman, Sander M. Levin, John Conyers, Jim McDermott, John Lewis, Pete Stark, Charles B. Rangel, Earl Blumenauer, and Lloyd Doggett, have expressed concerns about the effect the TPP requirements would have on access to medicine.

In particular, they are concerned that the TPP focuses on protecting intellectual property to the detriment of efforts to provide access to affordable medicine in the developing world, particularly Vietnam, going against the foreign policy goals of the Obama administration and previous administrations.

Additionally, they worry that the TPP would not be flexible enough to accommodate existing non-discriminatory drug reimbursement programs and the diverse health systems of member countries.

Opponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say US corporations are hoping to weaken Pharmac’s ability to get inexpensive, generic medicines by forcing New Zealand to pay for brand name drugs. Doctors and organisations like Medicins Sans Frontieres have also expressed concern.

The New Zealand Government denies the claims, Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser saying opponents of the deal are “fools” who are “trying to wreck this agreement”.

Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima!, expressed concern the agreement could decimate the derivative dōjinshi (self-published) works prevalent in Japan. Akamatsu argues that the TPP “would destroy derivative dōjinshi. And as a result, the power of the entire manga industry would also diminish.”

Kensaku Fukui, a lawyer and a Nihon University professor, expressed concerns that the TPP could allow companies to restrict or stop imports and exports of intellectual property, such as licensed merchandise. For example, IP holders could restrict or stop importers from shipping merchandise such as DVDs and other related goods related to an anime or manga property into one country to protect local distribution of licensed merchandise already in the country via local licensors.

At a NicoNico live seminar called How Would TPP Change the Net and Copyrights? An In-Depth Examination: From Extending Copyright Terms to Changing the Law to Allow Unilateral Enforcement and Statutory Damages, artist Kazuhiko Hachiya warned that cosplay could also fall under the TPP, and such an agreement could give law enforcement officials broad interpretive authority in dictating how people could dress up. Critics also have derided the agreement could also harm Japanese culture, where some segments have developed through parody works.

Negotiation secrecy

This section requires expansion with: reports of secrecy-related controversy prior to May 2012. (May 2012)

Critics such as consumer advocacy group Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch have called for more open negotiations for the agreement. In response, Kirk stated that he believes the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has conducted “the most engaged and transparent process as we possibly could,” but that “some measure of discretion and confidentiality” are needed “to preserve negotiating strength and to encourage our partners to be willing to put issues on the table they may not otherwise.”

He dismissed the “tension” as natural and noted that when the Free Trade Area of the Americas drafts were released, negotiators were subsequently unable to reach a final agreement.

On 23 May 2012, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3225, proposed legislation that would require the Office of the United States Trade Representative to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress.

Wyden said the bill clarifies the intent of the 2002 legislation which was supposed to increase Congressional access to information about USTR activity, but which, according to Wyden, is being incorrectly interpreted by the USTR as justification to excessively limit such access.

Wyden asserted: “ The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. […] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement. ”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) have criticized the Obama administration’s secrecy policies on the Trans-Pacific Pact.

On November 13, 2013, a complete draft of the treaty’s Intellectual Property Rights chapter was published by WikiLeaks. Subsequently, on January 15, 2014, Wikileaks published a complete draft of the Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report.

Investor–state arbitration

Investor-state dispute settlement mechanism is a common provision in international trade treaties, including the TPP, and international investment agreements that grants an investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government in their own right under international law. For example, if an investor invests in country “A”, which is a member of a trade treaty, but then country A breaches that treaty, then that investor may sue country A’s government for the breach.

Critics of the investment protection regime argue that traditional investment treaty standards are incompatible with environmental law, human rights protection, and public welfare regulation, meaning that TPP will be used to force states to lower standards e.g., environmental and workers protection, or be sued for damages. The Australian government’s position against investor state dispute settlement has been argued to support the rule of law and national energy security.

Polling

A poll conducted in December 2012 showed 64 percent of New Zealanders thought trade agreements that allow corporations to sue governments, such as the TPP, should be rejected.

On 5 March 2012, a group of TPP protesters disrupted an outside broadcast of 7News Melbourne’s 6 pm bulletin in Melbourne’s Federation Square.

In New Zealand a coalition of people concerned about the TPP have formed a group called It’s Our Future aimed to raise public awareness about, and resistance against the TPP prior to the Auckland round of negotiations from 3–12 December 2012.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that the TPP presented “grave risks”. Organized labor in the United States argues that the trade deal would largely benefit big business at the expense of workers in the manufacturing and service industries. The Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Economic and Policy Research have argued that the TPP could result in further job losses and declining wages.

Noam Chomsky warns that the TPP is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.”

Ilana Solomon, Sierra Club director of responsible trade, argues that the TPP “could directly threaten our climate and our environment [including] new rights that would be given to corporations, and new constraints on the fossil fuel industry all have a huge impact on our climate, water, and land.”

A second leaked set of draft documents indicates that public concern has had little impact on the negotiations. These documents also indicate there are strong disagreements between the United States and negotiating parties on the issues of intellectual property, agricultural subsidies, and financial services.

In December 2013, 151 House Democrats signed a letter written by Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) opposing the fast track trade promotion authority for the TPP. Several House Republicans oppose the measure on the grounds that it empowers the executive branch.

In January 2014, House Democrats refused to put forward a co-sponsor for the legislation, hampering the bill’s prospects for passage.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Partnership

2014-12-14 TPP - Trans-Pacific Partnership

QUESTION FOR ANDREW ROBB AND BARNABY JOYCE

We note you are both busy assuring the Australian public and the Australian farmers that the Free Trade Arrangement with China is “great news” because it will help Australian farmers, including the shipment of a million head of live cattle a year to China.

It’s a very clever line to spruik the “live cattle industry” stuff because the entire nation knows how badly smashed it was after the Gillard Government suddenly shut it down and drove so many producers to the wall.

So far, so good. Positive stuff. But today we were contacted by one of Australia’s leading cattlemen who had a very serious question for you.
Where are these cattle numbers going to come from, given that we are watching the almost total decimation of the Northern cattle herd in a record breaking drought?

Most producers have had to drastically de-stock their numbers down to virtually their last handful of breeders, cattle they are still battling to keep them alive right now with lick, supplements and pushing scrub.

So the very high profile cattleman settled down with a cup of tea and opened up a map of all the major cattle producing regions of Australia and explained to us in intricate detail where any significant breeding numbers are still being held.

With the exception of a few areas in Cape York and a patchy line down the Queensland east coast, there is absolutely no grass – and absolutely no cattle.

The entire North West, Central West and Central Queensland regions have been stripped of cattle – and the story is the same for the Channel country and throughout the Southern Border regions.

The big cattleman assured us that cattle producers in NSW are facing almost exactly the same drought patterns, the same patchy bits of grass here and there where some numbers have been held – as well as the same narrow strip of coastal cattle.

So where will sufficient big herds of breeding stock ready to produce a million live boat cattle ready to ship out next year suddenly appear from?

Victoria and South Australia both run predominantly British breeds such as angus that are not suited to the Live Trade, so that leaves us Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

While the season in both regions has been patchy, any breeding stock that has come through is certain to be both tightly held to ensure future profits and future herd building – and become very, very expensive as well.

The inescapable reality is that it will take years for the major cattle breeding regions of Australia to recover and build up their breeding numbers, since most of them have to literally start form scratch. And remember, the drought still hasn’t ended - and rain still has to come.

I guess “a million head of boat cattle going to China” is one of those feel-good lines that makes city-based journalists sit up and think you are both a couple of magicians in suits, but let me assure you, the good cattlemen out here are left shaking their heads in amazement.

Your office might think its “really good spin” - which it is, since it grabbed all the headlines – but out here in the bush I can assure you they have another term for it.

They call it bullshit.

So if you have to wrap some Free Trade Agreement in sufficient bullshit to force the Australian public to accept it, then we’d suggest its probably on the nose as well.

Author: https://www.facebook.com/OVHRepro

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2014-02-13 TPP - Trans-Pacific Partnership

Seems that Toyota have decided to leave Australia MAINLY based on the fact that Australia is about to sign up to the TPP.

Is this why we have lost our auto manufacturing?

I fear so… Look at what Toyota have said:

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