Countries In TPP Negotiations Begin To Wonder Why They Should Let The US Push Them Around

from the go-chile dept

It looks like some of the countries negotiating the awful and secretive TPP agreement are beginning to realize that perhaps they’re better off not giving in to whatever protectionist policies the US is about to push on them. Officials in Chile are apparently starting to realize that perhaps they’re better off without the TPP altogether:

At a PIJIP-hosted seminar on intellectual property and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) last week, present and former Chilean trade officials questioned whether joining the TPP would be worth its costs if it included additional demands on intellectual property.

The officials voicing this concern included Senator Ricardo Lagos, son of the former president of Chile and lead of the negotiation of the US-Chile free trade agreement (FTA) as the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Trade Policy under President Michelle Bachelet; Alvaro D?íaz, of CEPAL, the former Ambassador of Chile to Brazil and a senior official in the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Trade Policy at the time of the US-Chile FTA negotiation; and Ana Novik, a current senior official in DIRECON (the Ministry of Foreign Relations) overseeing the current TPP negotiations.

Each of the presenters explained that Chile already has market access agreements with every country in the TPP region, and therefore the trade benefits of joining TPP are likely to be minimal. Each therefore questioned whether the costs of joining TPP, especially in terms of any presumed increased obligations to expand proprietor rights in intellectual property law demanded by the U.S., would be worth incurring.

Apparently the session consisted of multiple Chilean experts (including some current government officials) making it clear that they’re sick of the US bullying on this issue, when they know full well that there would be significant costs associated with signing up for the TPP. In particular, they point out that Chile’s decision to participate in this discussion seems to come almost entirely because of the USTR’s silly and bogus Special 301 report, that names and shames countries the US entertainment and pharma industries don’t like — but which has no objective methodology. Chile has been named and shamed in the report. Of course, the proper response is to tell the US to mind its own business, rather than putting in place draconian rules that will do significant domestic harm. Hopefully more people in Chile will recognize why it’s a mistake to let the TPP process go any further.

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Comments on “Countries In TPP Negotiations Begin To Wonder Why They Should Let The US Push Them Around”

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38 Comments
TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Shame?

Canada has been a frequent guest on that list. Bogus and silly is putting it mildly.

Not every country is as enamored of the IP rights of Big Pharma and Hollywood are or Senator Orrin Hatch’s questioning of Chile’s notice and notice policy around allegedly infringing web sites in Chile.

In the link provided in the Mike’s story the Chileans point out that the world has changed and that, for now, Chile is more concerned that signing onto TPP will make it impossible to get better trading arrangements with China and India. Chile already has an FTA with the United States so they have access to that market TPP or no TPP. (Chile also has an FTA with Canada.)

Chile is also looking at trade with the huge Chinese economy and the rapidly growing Indian economy while questioning the value of knuckling under to the US over the American attempt to export their IP rights regime.

And the speakers at the conference from Chile did invite their civil society to take part in and monitor the negotiations on TPP so their public will be included. While, officially, the US citizenry is excluded.

Paul Hobbs (profile) says:

If only...

America is a great country, but it could be a REALLY REALLY great country if it just stopped being such a military and economic bully.

I believe just some of the benefits would be:

1. America would be far more respected by the rest of the world;
2. The threat of terrorism would most likely drop, which would hopefully lead to an easing of farcical security theatre practices;
3. Innovation and creativity would increase, which would stimulate your economy, and reduce unemployment
4. Huge reduction in the national debt by spending less on pointless wars (including the War on Terror)

There’s probably a bunch of other benefits, but even if there weren’t, wouldn’t those four be enough?

Martin says:

Additionally, congressman Arenas, who cosponsored the bill that became Chile’s network neutrality law, “invited” the people of the agency in charge of the TPP negotiation to go to Congress to explain why a treaty that will curtail Internet users’ rights and hinder access to cheap medication is being negotiated in secret. It was a bad week for the TPP in Chile.

Anonymous Coward says:

On the upside: Countries that free-ride off the important work done in other countries can continue to do so in their own country. Of course, the absence of an industrial economy may be a problem, but that is more than offset by an export reduction that gives our citizens more free time to go on vacations.

On the downside, and especially for Chile: Ooops, there go our wine exports, heavy machinery and aircraft imports, international investments, etc. But, who cares? It’s not like we want to build a strong economy.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You’d do well to educate yourself on existing trade arrangements between Chile and the United States before mouthing off like that.

The Pharmaceutical industry’s research and development is done globally not just in the United States, just in case you didn’t know that either. So as much as Big Pharma loves US IP laws I’m not all that sure they want to lose the R&D they do elsewhere in the world to make an example of Chile.

But if the US did want to make an example of Chile I suspect all that would do is, as far as trade is concerned, push them into the waiting arms of China, India and Brazil. Not to mention Europe once ACTA fails there.

So they’ll find a way to get their heavy equipment and aircraft imports satisfied and new markets for their wine. Not to mention movies, television, books and all the stuff the American “content” business does. Almost all in English.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

On the upside: Countries that free-ride off the important work done in other countries can continue to do so in their own country.

That’s not what Chile is looking to do. Why would you lie like that?

Of course, the absence of an industrial economy may be a problem, but that is more than offset by an export reduction that gives our citizens more free time to go on vacations.

Do you realize how stupid and out of touch you sound?

On the downside, and especially for Chile: Ooops, there go our wine exports, heavy machinery and aircraft imports, international investments, etc. But, who cares? It’s not like we want to build a strong economy.

You honestly think the US would do that to Chile if it doesn’t abide by Hollywood’s stupid version of copyright law? You’re more clueless than I thought…

Anonymous Coward says:

Can't make good content? Get a room

Well, a few things about these attempts to pass laws like this are quite entertaining, and where else to find entertainment than in the entertainment lawyer industry. Yes, they seem to be getting creative again.

Actually, I spoke with an attorney, by phone, about a proposed patent office in Denver recently, and well, he’s at a very esteemed law firm. He said “Go to West Hollywood to see what’s going on”. And I did, but only for a little bit– I went to West Hollywood and frankly, it’s a very homosexual neighborhood where anything goes.

It seems that if that’s where all the entertainment legislation is being written, all the nation’s attorneys of this type, convene to play a game of “hide the legislation”

I’m not making this up. Someone needs to go there and get a second opinion because I am pretty sure to live in that part of town, you have to want to have sexual relations with anything that moves. Just do a quick search on Craigslist in the personals section for the area called “WeHo”. It’s very revealing to the type of people and culture in the area of the folks who write this type of legislation.

My guess is that a WeHo lawyer found some Chilean dude with the right connections.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re:

On the upside: Countries that free-ride off the important work done in other countries can continue to do so in their own country.

You mean like a country that yells and screams about trade restriction on their produce (minimal as it is) though then turns around and props up its own producers wiping out reciprocity by allowing them to receive huge government grants (subsidies).

Of course, the absence of an industrial economy may be a problem, but that is more than offset by an export reduction that gives our citizens more free time to go on vacations.

You mean like a country that has basically no industrial economy anymore, and the one that it does have it needs to prop up by HUGE government schemes because they are too large to fail instead of looking at the real reason and allowing the small business owner to do things innovative by wiping out IP idiocies, it instead creates HUGE unemployment (vacation) lines and blames it all on some ideology (scapegoat).

On the downside, and especially for Chile: Ooops, there go our wine exports, heavy machinery and aircraft imports, international investments, etc. But, who cares? It’s not like we want to build a strong economy.
Instead Chile could sell those to the major, innovative and expanding economies of the world that are starting to realise they do not require this other country I have been comparing everything too in this comment.

BTW, the other country: USA

It’s amazing how much you want to reside in the 1950’s – 1960’s.

Thankfully time moves on, and like other civilisations before it, America (USA) unless it improves itself, will go the same way as Rome, Byzantine, and the Mayans.

Robert says:

By far the worst rule in the TPP, is the right of foreign corporations to sue governments for legislation that resulted in loss of profits.
Universal health care, well that denies US insurance companies to sell health insurance, so we will sue for the profits.
Governments forcing negotiation on bulk purchases of subsidised pharmaceuticals, well the prevents generating full profits, so we will sue for the difference.
Branding on cigarette packages, we all know branding is required to sell it to minors, so we will sue for loss of profits.
In fact any labour law, any environmental law, any safety legislation that cost money US corporations could sue foreign governments.
To put it bluntly piss off Obama and the US, sell you’re right wing PR=B$ to someone else.

Anonymous Coward says:

If only...

I’d love it if we went back to acting like we did before WW2, when we decided to start acting like the kings of the world.

But the fact is the only way the US is ever going to stop is if one of the following happens.
-The US goes bankrupt (at the rate our military spending keeps going up, and with the constant refusal by conservatives to raise taxes by even 1 penny, this isn’t as far away as it seems).
-China stepping up and taking the US’ place as self appointed kings of the world.

It’s not a sure thing that China won’t push these bad kinds of trade agreements either. Since China is using patents & copyrights as an economic weapon, China can’t keep using them as a weapon if their power is weakened, or life is cut short.

Paul Hobbs (profile) says:

If only...

I couldn’t agree more.

There was a definite shift from the end of WWII in the way that the US conducted itself on the world stage. I would characterise it as Imperialism. But the big question for me has always been “why”? Certainly there were economic factors at play – US companies wanted to be able to expand into foreign markets. But I think there is more to it than that. My gut feel is that it was largely fear-based. Perhaps it was Pearl Harbour, or just WWII in general, but I think a switch got turned on (in the American psyche) around that time (and it hasn’t been turned off ever since). So much of American foreign policy (both official and unofficial – yes, CIA, I’m looking at you) seems to have been predicated on the belief that the rest of the world is a threat, be it economic, political or military, and the best defence is a good offence.

Chargone (profile) says:

Shame?

TPP started off as between NZ, Chile, and Korea, if memory serves? might have been someone else. small entites (mid-size on the pacific scale) looking to tidy up their trade arrangements, so far as i can tell.

then the USA got involved.

the USA who either HAVE free trade deals with those countries already or refuse to sign such deals because it’s more productive to hold the possibility that they MIGHT over the heads of the governments to make them do Stupid Things for the mere possibility of such a worthless agreement.

no one gets Anything out of US involvement except more headaches. I’m not really sure how they ended up part of it to start with.

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