Post Tagged with: "troubletpp"

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 34: PMO Was Advised Canada at a Negotiating Disadvantage

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 34: PMO Was Advised Canada at a Negotiating Disadvantage

Price of Entry, one of the early Trouble with the TPP series posts, discussed some of the conditions of entry for Canada into the TPP negotiations. These included the absence of “veto authority”, which meant that Canada could not hold up any chapter if it was the only country opposing a provision. This ultimately had a significant impact on the intellectual property chapter, where Canada had little choice but to cave on several issues.

Conditions of entry were not the only disadvantage faced by the Canadian negotiators. According to an internal email I recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, Canadian officials were aware that they were at a disadvantage relative to the U.S. in the late stages of the negotiations. The email dated July 9, 2015, was sent to Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s lead TPP negotiator, and Christine Hogan, the International Trade Deputy Minister. It notes that the U.S. had cleared access to the full negotiating text for a wide range of advisors, including business groups and public advocates, but infers that Canada had not done the same. It continues:

I hope the political side lets you do something similar or at least hold technical briefings, or the US will effectively drive the narrative and put you at a disadvantage.

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February 19, 2016 20 comments News
Migraine Meds by Tanya (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 33: Setting the Rules for a Future Pharmacare Program

Earlier Trouble with the TPP posts focused on the health care implications of the agreement, focusing on patent term extensions, biologics protection, and limits on medical devices and pharma data collection. There is another health-related aspect of the TPP worthy of examination, but it is easy to miss. Chapter 26 of the TPP addresses transparency and anti-corruption, which is not the place you would expect to find provisions with a direct impact on health care. Yet Annex 26-A contains a full section on “transparency and procedural fairness for pharmaceutical products and medical devices.”  What does this section do?  The key aspect is to establish mandatory requirements for a national pharmacare program:

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February 18, 2016 3 comments News
See you in 2021 by Amerhadi Azmi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 32: Illusory Safeguards Against Encryption Backdoors

The news that the U.S. government has obtained a court order requiring Apple to assist law enforcement to break the encryption on an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernadino terrorists has sparked widespread concern. There is some debate over the scope of the judicial order – Techdirt points out that the order does not require Apple to break its encryption but rather allow the government to “brute force” the password without deleting the data – but it is clear that the goal is to limit the effectiveness of the encryption protections found on the popular device. Apple has issued a public letter stating its view that this is a dangerous precedent that could be repeated over and over again. Indeed, if a U.S. court can issue such an order, there is seemingly nothing to stop other governments from doing the same.

What does this have to do with the TPP?

The U.S. has suggested that the TPP would address these issues, claiming that the agreement:

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February 17, 2016 10 comments News
Trade Mark by Steve Snodgrass (CC BY 2.0)

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 31: Canadian Trademark Law Overhaul

The Trouble with the TPP continues with another area of intellectual property that is subject to an overhaul due to largely to the trade agreement: trademark law. The Canadian government’s summary on the issue once again understates the significance of the changes with assurances that the TPP is “in line with Canada’s existing regime” and “supports Canada’s progress to accede to the Madrid Protocol and Nice Agreement.”

The reality is that government recently passed a massive overhaul of trademark law with little consultation or debate in anticipation of the TPP requirements. In fact, government negotiators opposed some of the trademark requirements in the TPP until very late in the negotiations (including some of the Nice Agreement provisions) recognizing that it was not consistent with Canadian law at the time. The planned Canadian changes are not expected to come into force until 2018 at the earliest.

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February 16, 2016 Comments are Disabled News
The Tag by monica renata (CC BY 2.0)

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 30: Losing Our Way on Geographical Indications

Geographical indications (GI) are signs used on goods – frequently food, wine, or spirits – that have a specific geographical origin and are said to possess qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin. Given the quality associated with the product, proponents of GI protection argue that it is needed to avoid consumer confusion as well as to protect legitimate producers.

Europe has the most extensive geographical indication protections in the world. These include Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), which covers agricultural products produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognized know-how; Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), which covers agricultural products linked to the geographical area; and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG), which highlights traditional character, either in the composition or means of production. 

The net effect of the European system is that hundreds of items enjoy special legal protection.

What does this have to do with the TPP?

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February 12, 2016 5 comments News