The Intellectual Property chapter of the TPP has just been leaked by Wikileaks.
The Trans Pacific “Strategic Economic” Partnership (TPP) is a 12-nation, $27 trillion agreement that is being negotiated as a “free-trade” agreement in secret, and the mainstream media is largely ignoring it. What may be the most egregious aspect of this agreement is that 600 of the largest corporations are advising these negotiations.
If one thought that corporate lobbyists in Washington exercised too much power onto our governments, the TPP expands that to the 12 nations, overwriting the sovereignty of their governments. The largest corporations like Walmart, Shell, and Exxon, for example, have assets and revenues larger than the GDPs of 80% of the world’s nations.
If we measured the revenues or assets of corporations alongside the GDP of nations, more than 50% of the 100 biggest economies on Earth would be corporations. I’m pretty sure that we would mostly want to know what the specific details of those negotiations are, and by we—the 99%– those who are most likely to be impacted by this agreement.
The TPP is corporate lobbying on a global scale and this agreement will impact not only people and communities here and abroad, but also environmental regulations, globally. Last weeks super-typoon Haiyan should be an indicator of what the impact a super-agreement like the TPP will have on our planet.
According to the California Chamber of Commerce, California is one of the ten largest economies in the world and boasts a GDP of $1.9 trillion and international related commerce accounts for about a quarter of the state’s economy.
This leaked Intellectual Property Chapter is only one of 29 chapters under negotiation, and perhaps it is the one chapter that really speaks to California’s 1%. In industries like entertainment, technology, communication, biotech and pharmaceuticals, many of these largest corporations are housed in California.
Media conglomerates pushing for greater copyright privileges can have draconian effects on consumers, while lining the pockets of corporations and investors. The US delegation seeks to extend the copyright term to the life of the rights holder and a further 70 years beyond that. Additionally, the US proposes criminal procedures and penalties to be applied to “willful copyright or related rights infringements that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain. This might sound reasonable to the artists, except that the US opposes the “rights of authors, performers and producers of phonograms” including audio broadcast or recordings, and seek to maximize revenue through the corporations.
The TPP also impedes access to medicines. Legally binding and enforceable intellectual property and copyright guidelines benefit California’s pharmaceutical companies like McKesson and Amgen. When patents expire, drug companies can utilize new chemical entities without disclosing data except to protect the public. Enforcing minute changes to patents, deliberately keeps the production and distribution of medicines within patent protection of corporations and shareholders. Negotiators of these agreements should be representing the 99%, the patients who depend on the timely access to white label medicines.
The United States has been losing market share to China and the other Asian economies who have negotiated more than 160 trade agreements among themselves, while the United States has signed only three with regional countries (Korea, Singapore and Australia). If the point has not been made clear enough, we in California are on the frontlines of the TPP and we need to call for a more consumer-friendly, worker and environmentally friendly trade agreement.
We also need to continue calling our Congressional representatives asking to oppose giving Obama fast-track authority to push through the TPP. Here is a list of California legislators who’ve opposed fast-track compiled by Andrea Miller, from the Progressive Democrats of America’s website.
Coordinator, Moana Nui Action Alliance
Thursday, 13 November 2013
Press Release: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)
WikiLeaks just released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.
The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. Both pacts exclude China.
Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.
The TPP negotiations are currently at a critical stage. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. Numerous TPP heads of state and senior government figures, including President Obama, have declared their intention to sign and ratify the TPP before the end of 2013.
WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange stated: “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.” The advanced draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, published by WikiLeaks on 13 November 2013, provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarise themselves with the details and implications of the TPP.
The 95-page, 30,000-word IP Chapter lays out provisions for instituting a far-reaching, transnational legal and enforcement regime, modifying or replacing existing laws in TPP member states. The Chapter’s subsections include agreements relating to patents (who may produce goods or drugs), copyright (who may transmit information), trademarks (who may describe information or goods as authentic) and industrial design.
The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.
The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.
In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”
Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.