Response to Federal Register notice seeking comments regarding Canada’s interest in TPPA negotiations

On December 7, 2011, USTR issued Federal Register Notice 76480-76481 requesting comments on “Canada’s Expression of Interest in the Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement.” USTR issued similar requests for comments regarding Japan’s (Notice 76478-76479) and Mexico’s (Notice 76479-76480) expression of interest in the TPPA.

KEI has submitted a response to this notice available for download here.

The response focuses primarily on intellectual property concerns, though it also called for greater transparency in the negotiations. Repeating calls for the release of the negotiating texts, the comments also cite Senator Sanders’ call for greater transparency.

The comments included a general statement encouraging better protection for consumers with regard to intellectual property chapters. Because KEI has written on and provided prior submissions on intellectual property concerns previously, including areas of the USTR proposal that are inconsistent with current U.S. law, KEI incorporated these concerns by way of reference to prior documents. In addition, the response references joint civil society comments and the human rights complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health. KEI also notes its opposition to mandatory minimum copyright terms in the TPPA.

In addition to the concerns about the USTR proposal, our response to the federal register notice includes several suggestions on a positive agenda for the TPPA. One suggestion is that the TPPA should provide for the cross-border sharing of accessible format works that are produced under copyright limitations and exceptions. Another area is to consider alternative approaches to the Paragraph 6 system of the Doha Declaration to explicitly permit export of medical inventions manufactured under compulsory licenses. Additionally, the comments proposes the inclusion of chapters on access to knowledge and for a supply of public goods.

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