Leaked New Zealand Position Paper Rejecting TRIP-Plus IP Provisions in TPP

Sean Flynn
December 4, 2010

We have been hearing for some time that New Zealand has been opposed to including TRIPS + IP provisions in the TPP agreement. Here is the leaked paper containing that position. http://citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4688. More documents and analysis from Public Citizen and the Third World Network:

http://citizen.org/accesstomedicine

And Public Citizen's Press Release:

Dec. 4, 2010

Contact: Peter Maybarduk
pmaybarduk@citizen.org
Skype: petesystem

Angela Bradbery
(202) 588-7741

Leaked New Zealand Paper Challenges Past U.S. FTA Models in
Trans-Pacific Trade Negotiations
Access to Medicines at Stake

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A confidential Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
(TPPA) negotiating paper authored by New Zealand suggests that the trade
pacts patent and copyright provisions be no more stringent than existing
global standards. Warning that the New Zealand position still poses some
risks for access to medicines, Public Citizen applauds this direct
challenge to the monopoly interests of major pharmaceutical
corporations.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based pharmaceutical industry on Friday requested
that the U.S. government push for "the highest possible" regional
intellectual property protections and changes to the policies of New
Zealands Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC) through the TPPA. If
the drug industry prevails, access to medicines could be at risk.

Pharma-favored provisions included in many recent U.S. trade deals
extend drug company monopolies and keep prices high. But price-lowering
generic competition is essential to advancing global access to
medicines. For example, over the past 10 years, generic competition has
played a key role in reducing the costs of first-line HIV/AIDS medicines
by 99 percent, enabling 5.2 million people worldwide to access
lifesaving treatment.

The leaked New Zealand paper states the parties "should be cautious
about moving beyond TRIPS [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights] standards under [the] TPP," noting "there is a tendency
towards overprotection of IP in all our societies, particularly in the
areas of copyright and patents." New Zealand proposes an alternative
"TRIPS-aligned" structure, focusing on operational coherence and
enforcement, and capacity building in developing countries. There are
still dangers in each of New Zealands proposed focus areas; even these
seeming procedural approaches may increase monopoly protections. New
Zealands position could incorporate terms of the controversial
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

But the leaked paper reflects growing awareness of the risks of
TRIPS-plus measures and rigid exclusive rights in many countries, making
explicit reference to controversies within New Zealand over the content
and secrecy of these negotiations.

"The best result for many parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement would be no intellectual property or pharmaceuticals
provisions at all," said Peter Maybarduk, director of the Global Access
to Medicines Program at Public Citizen. "Nevertheless, New Zealands
proposal is a better starting point for regional IP negotiation than the
U.S.-sponsored TRIPS-plus status quo."

"The parties to the TPPA have touted the agreement as a new model and a
high-standard 21st century agreement," he added. "A 21st century
agreement must not accept harmful 20th century terms. We congratulate
New Zealand for introducing an alternative vision. Any future proposals
for intellectual property provisions in the TPPA should improve upon New
Zealands proposal and limit the intellectual property protections
required by various trade agreements in the region to levels no higher
than those set by the World Trade Organizations TRIPS Agreement."

The leaked paper and further analysis is available at
http://citizen.org/accesstomedicine .###


Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit public interest advocacy
organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please
visit www.citizen.org .

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