Media Release: Professor Jane Kelsey. Tuesday 15 February 2011
The first day of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in Chile has started where the Auckland round left off. New Zealand and intellectual property are again at the centre of the leaks.
“We have seen a copy of the draft text tabled by New Zealand and one other country. While IP specialists are still analysing the detail they say it largely reflects New Zealand’s relatively progressive position in the paper leaked in December”, said Professor Jane Kelsey, who is at the Santiago talks as a registered “stakeholder”.
One local expert described the New Zealand text as “far from perfect, but a better starting point for negotiations than the past US-sponsored TRIPS-plus status quo”, referring to the World Trade Organisation’s agreement on intellectual property.
The text puts New Zealand directly at loggerheads with the US, who reportedly emailed their own largely complete text to other negotiators shortly before the meeting.
“The US strategy has ruffled feathers among negotiations who had no time to analyse the document and consult in their capitals before coming to Santiago”, said Professor Kelsey.
As New Zealand’s December paper foreshadowed, the US text is reportedly more aggressive than its previous free trade agreements (FTAs), building on the IP chapter in the Australia US FTA. A local IT expert predicted the US would use the TPPA to achieve what it failed to secure in the recently concluded Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
The “lockout” continues the secrecy of previous rounds. Only one short briefing for registered “stakeholders” is scheduled, mid-way through the negotiations. It promises to be no more illuminating than those in Auckland.
Originally the Chilean hosts scheduled “stakeholder” presentations on various issues at the same time as the negotiations on the same issues. The lunchtime slot had been allocated to the pro-IP rights lobby.
“A number of delegations were as unhappy as we were, because they want to hear what we have to say. After pressure from them and from us some accommodations have now been made”.
“Tomorrow, letters from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Chile and the US signed by groups representing hundreds of thousands of members will be handed to the various delegations, demanding a collective decision from them to end the secrecy that screens the TPPA from public scrutiny.”
“Hopefully they will realise that this closed door approach is untenable, especially as the leaks continue to flow”.
More information is available here: http://web.me.com/jane_kelsey/Jane/TPPA.html