KEI comments for House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

On Wednesday, December 14, 2011 the Subcommittee on Trade of the Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Oral testimony was accepted only from invited witnesses. These witnesses included: Ambassador Demetrios Marantis (Deputy U.S. Trade Representative), Devry S. Boughner (Director, Intenrational Business Relations on behalf of Cargill Inc. and U.S. Business Coalition for TPP), Angela Marshall Hofmann (Vice President for Global Integrated Sourcing on Trade, Wal-Mart Stores), and Michael Wessel (President of The Wessel Group).

KEI submitted written comments for the record. These comments included a call for greater transparency, concerns regarding the U.S. intellectual property proposals that will restrict access to medicines, and highlights areas of the U.S. proposal that are inconsistent with current U.S. law. KEI's full comments are available here for download. The introduction to the written statement is reprinted below.

The United States’ proposed text on intellectual property for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will harm people living in the United States and other TPPA member states. The lack of transparency in the negotiation is appalling and unequal, particularly where corporate interests have preferred legal access to information about the negotiations while providing information about the negotiation to the general public is illegal, and subject to career ending sanctions and the possibility of long prison terms.

USTR has proposed several measures that will clearly increase prices and restrict access to medicines. These proposals go beyond the requirements of the WTO Agreement on TRIPS, limit the applicability of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, and abandon the May 10th Agreement between the Bush Administration and the House of Representatives which agreed that certain TRIPS-plus mechanisms should not be part of a mandatory protocol, which places the Obama Administration closer to the pharmaceutical lobby than the Bush Administration, as regards trade policy

In addition, USTR’s text contains multiple proposals that are inconsistent with current U.S. law. These areas would give greater privileges to owners of patents, copyrights and other intellectual property rights, undermining consumer rights and protections.

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