This is hardly a surprise, but more reports are coming out revealing that the US's ongoing strategy in negotiating the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) agreement is to not take into account the many, many concerns about the US's hardline, maximalist position on both intellectual property issues
and efforts to give corporations sovereignty over national laws
under the misleadingly named (and purposely boring) "investor state dispute settlements" (ISDS). You would think that with widespread dissection and concerns expressed about the leaked intellectual property chapter, that the USTR might possibly ease up on its crazy maximalist demands. Not so -- but that's to be expected when you have Stan McCoy as the lead negotiator on intellectual property issues. McCoy is a famed extreme maximalist on IP issues who has more or less admitted to having no interest at all in hearing from public interest groups
, while lapping up any opportunity to parrot bogus claims from the industry. McCoy was the same guy behind the embarassing disaster known as ACTA
, which flopped so miserably. You'd think he'd take a hint, but instead it appears he's decided to dig in his heels and make sure the US continues to live up to its reputation as an obnoxious bully.
Multiple reports have called out the US (and McCoy in particular) for its aggression and "bullying"
in the negotiations. Others have accused the US of engaging in a "negotiation by exhaustion,"
in which US negotiators seem to figure if they just stand their ground forever, everyone will eventually be bullied into agreeing to the US's positions.
‘The US has adopted a strategy of exhaustion in its bullying of negotiators on the crucial intellectual property chapter to force countries to trade away health in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations in Salt Lake City’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, who is monitoring the negotiations.
‘The US has stepped up its aggression as they move towards their "end point" of the TPPA ministerial meeting in Singapore from 7 to 10 December’, said Professor Kelsey.
[....] ‘This is a loaded game’, Professor Kelsey said. ‘McCoy sets the agenda and timetable. Negotiators are working from morning until late at night and preparing to work all night, if necessary.’
The second link above, from a publication in Australia, notes something similar and complains about the Australian government's seeming willingness to side with the US on these issues:
The United States has been accused of negotiation by exhaustion in last-minute talks in Salt Lake City ahead of the final ministers' meeting that will decide the makeup of the Trans Pacific trade deal between Australia and eleven other nations.
Information leaking from the closed official-level talks suggests the United States is giving no ground on questions of intellectual property and medicines and is insisting each nation sign up to so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions that would allow global corporations to sue sovereign governments.
[....] “What is happening is not a negotiation,” said Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade Network. “The United States is dictating the terms and it seems the Australian Government is not prepared to join other governments which are resisting these demands
While Stan McCoy plays out his own last stand game, pushing for policies that may help a few of his friends in the industry at the expense of the public, hopefully that last point -- about other governments resisting McCoy's attempt to bully them into a really bad deal -- stays true. An analysis of the positions on the IP Chapter, done by Gabriel Michael, highlighted how the US's position is a lot more isolated
than it might like. That may explain the bullying behavior. It looks like the USTR is getting desperate, realizing its usual tricks and games aren't fooling most of the other negotiators. As Michael's analysis showed, the US and Japan (two of the strongest supporters of maximalism) appear to be fairly isolated -- issuing a lot more proposals that no one else supports.
Of course, the USTR is somewhat famous for its ability to start horse trading, promising bogus sweetheart deals if people just agree to awful language that will do massive harm to the public, so it's still something to be quite nervous about until any final text is revealed. Of course, just the fact that the USTR has still refused to reveal the text itself should be reason enough to recognize that this deal is a joke designed to screw over the public. Those acting in the interest of the public don't hide their efforts from the public.