16 FEBRUARY 2011: The fifth round of TPP talks began in Santiago this week, with US pushes for more aggressive IP reform in the text expected to be a major source of debate and commentator discussion.
New Zealand, along with one another country, is understood to have submitted a draft text on IP, described as 'relatively progressive' compared to the IP provisions contained in most modern US FTAs.
As covered previously on TPPDigest, NZ negotiatiors have expressed concerns at the US's more aggressive demands on IP in the talks, which were understood to expand on IP provisions in the US-Australia FTA and make up for ground conceded in the current version of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The US reportedly submitted its own draft text to negotiators at the same time as NZ.
As with the Auckland talks last December, public statements on the progress of the talks are expected to limited to brief press conferences with stakeholders and the media.
However, delegates will be presented with signed open letters and petitions from civil society groups in Australia, Malaysia, Chile, NZ and the US asking that negotiations be made public and transparent. Negotiators will also be presented with a paper authored by Professor Jane Kelsey and Third World Network's Sanya Reid Smith, linking the agreement to continued international financial instability and offering a mock draft text.
Professor Kelsey says the current negotiations fail to recognise that the 2008 global financial crisis was the product of excessive liberalisation and deregulation, and that rather than rethinking an unsuccessful model, the TPPA negotiations appear to be bolting the door closed on the options for governments to re-regulate the financial sector and impose controls on speculative capital flows in ways that meet the needs of their people”.
The mock text is intended to approximate the actual text, still under negotiations conducted in secret. It is based on existing FTAs between the US and Singapore, Australia, Chile and Peru.
The authors recommend that financial services, financial investment and movement of currency are all excluded from the TPPA. Failing this, the agreement must provide allowances for national governments to continue to regulate the financial sector and financial transactions so as to prevent another crisis in the future.