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TPPA talks show signs of mounting conflicts - CTU

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Fuseworks Media

The Transpacific Partnership talks in Chicago are showing signs of the mounting conflicts both inside and outside the secret negotiations. Dr. Bill Rosenberg, CTU Economist, is in Chicago during this round of the TPPA negotiations.

Bill Rosenberg has noted that New Zealand's chief negotiator Mark Sinclair deflected a question about progress in opening up meaningful access for dairy products at a stakeholder briefing on Sunday (Monday New Zealand time) by saying "the name of the game was different" and was now more about "supply chains" and not only about tariffs.

Bill Rosenberg says "it seems that Mark Sinclair is trying to ready the New Zealand public for news that there won't be much more dairy access to the US market - only smoother customs procedures and the like."

US demands on Intellectual Property Rights are among the most controversial aspects of the TPPA both inside and outside the negotiations.

Bill Rosenberg said "not only are they likely to push up medicine prices but they will attempt to extend copyright and patent protection far beyond what academic experts say the evidence shows is justifiable."

Australia has said it will not accept US demands for its investors to be able to sue governments if their profits are threatened by government measures and this power has been repeatedly condemned by health advocates, unions, environmentalists and many others.

"Like many others, we are concerned that despite its dangers the New Zealand government has refused to take it off the table," said Bill Rosenberg.

A further partial round of talks, on only parts of the proposed agreement, is likely in December in order to try to keep it moving, but the reality is that the US will not want to offer such a controversial agreement to Congress during the 2012 election year. The earliest date for signing is therefore 2013.

Bill Rosenberg says that by then, public opposition is likely to be even greater.

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