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Leaked Paper - NZ U.S. Rift On Intellectual Property In TPPA

5 December 2010

For Immediate release

LEAKED NZ PAPER REVEALS RIFT WITH U.S. ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN TPPA

On the eve of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in Auckland, a leaked negotiating document has exposed a fundamental conflict between the US and New Zealand positions on intellectual property.

This adds to a stand-off over whether dairy access is even on the table, and New Zealand’s apparent rejection of an investor-state disputes mechanism in a TPPA.

US consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has released the confidential New Zealand paper, accompanied by a raft of papers analysing its implications.

Professor Jane Kelsey welcomed the leak as ‘hugely significant’.

‘Daylight is at last beginning to shine on these secretive negotiations. But we shouldn’t have to rely on leaks to be able to prepare expert analyses and generate informed debate about what our governments are proposing.’

In the paper, the New Zealand government has rebuffed one of the core pillars of recent US FTAs - its far-reaching intellectual property chapters that guarantee ever higher-stricter monopoly rights to its drug companies, entertainment industry and IT and technology sector.

‘The expert analyses show that capitulating to US demands in the vain hope of some concessions on dairy access will carry a high price, jeopardising the affordability of medicines under Pharmac and fettering our ability to strengthen our own innovative capacity.

Two days ago Inside US Trade reported the American pharmaceutical lobby had targeted Pharmac in a confidential briefing paper to the US Trade Representative.

‘The position New Zealand proposes still has plenty of problems, but it signals a turning point in negotiations with the US on these issues that other countries are likely to welcome.

The paper acknowledges that New Zealand’s stance was influenced by domestic debates over intellectual property, presumably a reference to the controversy over Internet usage laws, the recently concluded Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations and the WAI-262 claim by Maori.

The government admits the underlying issues ‘are taking on a significant political dimension in many of our societies. Many IP users as well as some innovators have become mobilised to oppose the further strengthening of IP rights’.

It also recognises a growing antipathy to the secrecy of negotiations to strengthen intellectual property rights under free trade agreements and other international instruments, such as ACTA.

Professor Kelsey congratulated the New Zealand government for standing up against the prevailing US demands on intellectual property and urged it to maintain and strengthen its resolve.

‘Hopefully, the government will also recognise the value of informed analysis and debate in settling its position on other issues such as financial regulation, foreign investment and investor-state enforcement, and labeling of GE food.’

ENDS

There will be a media briefing of TPPA ‘stakeholders’ including Professor Kelsey and Ms Read Smith at the Welcome Room, Sky City Hotel, at 3pm Monday 6 December. This is open to all media.

Links to key documents:

Public Citizen Press Release: Leaked New Zealand Paper Challenges U.S. & Big Pharma in Trans-Pacific Trade Negotiations; Access to Medicines at Stake http://citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4687&frcrld=1

Packet Summary and Memo to Reporters: TPP, Leaked NZ Paper and Access to Medicines http://citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4688

Leaked New Zealand Paper on Intellectual Property and the Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement http://www.citizen.org/documents/NZleakedIPpaper-1.pdf

Third World Network and Public Citizen: Analysis of the Leaked New Zealand Paper. http://citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4685&frcrld=1

PIJIP: Why the TPP Should Not Include Pharmaceutical Pricing Provisions; Dangers to PHARMAC http://wcl.american.edu/pijip/go/palmedo12042010

RedGE: US-Peru FTA study results: Tariff Reductions Fail to Lower Medicine Costs, While FTA Yields New Medicines Monopolies. http://www.redge.org.pe/sites/all/files/alerta_urgente_medicamentos_0.pdf (An English translation of the Peru study results will soon be available)

U.S. Coalition Letter on the Proposed Trans Pacific Partnership and Global Access to Medicines http://www.citizen.org/documents/TPPaccesstomedicinesandIPsignonletter.pdf

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