USTR will host two public hearings regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The first, to be held on Friday, 21 September 2012, will cover Mexico’s participation in the TPPA. The second hearing will be held on Monday, 24 September 2012, and will address Canada’s participation in the TPPA.
Knowledge Ecology International has submitted a response to a Federal Register notice seeking comments on Mexico’s Participation in the TPPA. KEI previously submitted comments in January 2012 responding to a Federal Register notice regarding Canada’s expression of interest in the TPPA. KEI also attached a notice of intent to testify at both hearings.
The comments submitted for the current call for comments focused primarily on a call for comments on “Relevant trade-related intellectual property rights issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.” The comments also covered “new approaches designed to promote innovation and competitiveness, encourage new technologies and emerging economic sectors.”
From the outset, we noted our objections to the secretive nature of the negotiations and called for greater transparency. In particular, we urge USTR to release the texts of the agreement, noting the areas outside of bilateral or plurilateral free trade agreements, such as in multilateral fora like WIPO, where the negotiating texts are released and the public is permitted to comment. In addition to highlighting concerns with respect to USTR’s text on copyright and patents, we also submitted a section addressing new approaches which are often more responsive to human rights, access to knowledge, and access to medicines and can represent more ethical solutions. Furthermore, we incorporated by reference numerous comments we have previously sent to USTR and other federal agencies with respect to our concerns regarding the TPPA.