Abstract: The upward-ratcheting of patent protection through trade agreements has generated significant concerns about potential effects on prices of drugs and access to medicines in developing countries. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) included even more extensive pharmaceutical patent provisions than any before. While President Trump withdrew the US as a signatory to the TPP, the potential for new trade agreements to raise the same set of concerns generated by the TPP remains high. Previous work assessing the TPP argued that new data on pharmaceutical expenditures (and other measures) from countries with recent trade agreements with the U.S. indicated that concerns about pharmaceutical patent protection and drug prices are overblown and it may be time to move on from these debates.
Civil Society Statement circulated by Haochen Sun, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Law and Technology Centre, The University of Hong Kong. Click here to sign the Statement. Click here to download the Statement.
Introduction: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) aims to conclude a comprehensive agreement that promotes free trade and investment among Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As a hallmark of this proposed agreement, the RCEP Intellectual Property (IP) Chapter will set out a host of minimum standards for IP protection in the sixteen participating countries.
We are deeply concerned about the copyright protection standards proposed for the RCEP IP Chapter. They may cause unintended effects of stifling creativity, free speech, and economic growth. We urge that the new rounds of RCEP negotiations reconsider those standards by applying the following three principles:
[Reposted from blog.ffii.org] The following is an excerpt from the full working paper Multilateral Investment Court Assessment Obscures Social and Environmental Impacts, available here.
Copyright does not work well in the digital world; the patent system is inefficient. Our societies could benefit from reform. 33 The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other international agreements limit possibilities for reform. Expansive interpretation of international treaties would further limit our policy space.
Japan has become the US in drag, asserting its commitment to implementing the TPPA no matter what and pushing TPPA positions (and sometimes worse) even in areas it initially opposed in those negotiations, such as SOEs and intellectual property. Presumably this is to impress Trump in the hope the TPPA can be resurrected or a bilateral US Japan deal can rise from its ashes, with Japan surrendering once again to the American superpower.
Australia and New Zealand continue their mantra that RCEP must be a ‘high quality’ agreement and continue to demand massive commitments from developing countries. They got a lot of pushback this week.
This note comments on each provision of the leaked RCEP IP chapter (dated October 2015) in brief. Patent is omitted, where I defer to others with expertise in that area of international IP law. It argues that like so many negotiating (and unfortunately, final) texts of recent IP chapters in trade agreements, there are proposals here that would, if adopted, constitute a radically unbalanced text promoting strong rights while providing little or no protection for other stakeholders in the IP system. Like the TPP text, provisions that suggest a degree of balance are mostly optional/exhortatory, where provisions for the benefit of right holders are mostly mandatory. An exception is the enforcement provisions which are, consistent with other agreements, mostly put in terms so as to require authority to make certain orders or grant certain remedies, rather than a requirement to actually make orders.
Abstract: The inclusion of elevated standards of intellectual property protection in the recently negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement has raised serious public health concerns regarding access to medicines. A lesser-known trade agreement under negotiation in the Asia Pacific region is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Joint letter from 316 civil society groups based in countries negotiating RCEP [Printable PDF]
Dear Trade Ministers & Negotiators from the RCEP countries: This is an urgent call by 316 civil society organisations from across the Asian and Pacific countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes the 10 ASEAN Member States with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
This letter comes at a very important political moment, when in the aftermath of the US elections it seems clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) will not be ratified by the USA, in spite of its big push since February 2016 when the agreement was signed by the 12 countries.
The main outcomes reported by the Chair include an agreement among the trade Ministers “to foster cooperation in intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement, and raise SMEs awareness of IP commercialization. They encouraged the completion of the APEC Best Practices in Trade Secrets Protection and Enforcement on the basis of consensus at the earliest possible time.”
Authors: Hazel Moir, Brigitte Tenni, Deborah Gleeson & Ruth Lopert
Abstract: In the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations, the USA successfully pursued intellectual property (IP) provisions that will affect the affordability of medicines, including anti-retrovirals (ARV) for HIV. Vietnam has the lowest GDP per capita of the 12 TPP countries and in 2013 provided ARVs for only 68% of eligible people living with HIV. Using the current Vietnamese IP regime as our base case, we analysed the potential impact of a regime making full use of legal IP flexibilities, and one based on the IP provisions of the final, agreed TPP text.
[AFTINet Press Release, Link] “The Australian government should reject the push from US Republican Congress members to increase biologic medicine monopolies by seven years, even more than the extra three years which has already been agreed in the TPP text,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.
Dear President Obama: As organizations that represent millions of Americans, including consumers, retirees, and patients, and that provide medical care globally, we are concerned about recent reports that your Administration is working behind the scenes to craft Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) implementing legislation and possibly enter into side letters that would mean even more lengthy monopoly protections for biologics than the already onerous provisions in the TPP agreement. It is our understanding that this could bind the United States to a 12-year market exclusivity period for biologics and block the U.S. and other countries from reducing the amount of time expensive biologic drugs are protected from competition from less expensive biosimilar drugs.
Abstract: The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a large regional trade agreement involving twelve countries. It was signed in principle in February 2016 but has not yet been ratified in any of the participating countries. The TPP provisions place a range of constraints on how governments regulate the pharmaceutical sector and set prices for medicines.