Hatch Still Trying To Change The Finalized TPP Deal To Make It Even Worse For Other Nations

from the two-edged-sword dept

As Techdirt noted in 2014, by agreeing to the “fast track” procedure for trade deals, Congress has essentially given up its power to change them. That’s a two-edged sword. Although it makes the ratification process simpler, because things like TPP and TTIP must be accepted or rejected in their entirety, it also means that political bosses have no ability to tweak the text to make it more likely the deals will be ratified. That’s coming back to bite one of the people who introduced the fast track bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.

He has been trying for a while to get TPP to require the same 12 years’ monopoly of drug safety data that the US provides for so-called “biologic drugs,” in addition to the normal patent protection they enjoy. The final TPP text specifies eight years, and because of the fast track authority that he worked so hard to put in place, there is no way for Hatch to get the text changed now that it has been finalized. According to a report from Bloomberg, Hatch is apparently hoping that “binding side agreements” with the other TPP nations might do the trick, but there’s a problem with that or any similar approach:

Australia, New Zealand and Peru have all indicated at various points during the last six months that they will not change their positions concerning biologics and stand by the agreed-upon language contained in the TPP.

“I don’t know what they’re going to offer, but they know I’m at 12 years of data exclusivity,? he said of the administration. “They’re going to have to find a way of having the countries agree to change that formality in the TPP to 12 years or come up with something that will be acceptable.”

That’s really pretty extraordinary. After nearly eight years of tough negotiations, concessions were made and a final text agreed by all the countries involved. And now Hatch says it’s not good enough, that the US has some special right to ask for yet more, and that countries refusing to up their protection for biologics data to 12 years won’t be part of the TPP deal. Understandably, some in those nations at risk of being thrown out of TPP are unhappy about this threat. For example, Dr. Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said:

“The extra three years of monopoly [beyond current Australian regulations] in the current TPP text is already unacceptable. It is outrageous that the US is demanding an even greater increase from 8 to 12 years. We call on the Australian and other governments to reject this proposal.”

In fact, it’s even worse than that. As we pointed out a year ago, granting any protection to the clinical trial data used to gain approval for biologics seriously undermines one of the fundamental principles of science: that basic facts cannot be owned, and that progress is made by building on the results of others. Hatch is right that the eight-year term of protection for biologics data in TPP is unacceptable, but he’s wrong about what the right term would be: it’s not 12 years, but zero.

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Comments on “Hatch Still Trying To Change The Finalized TPP Deal To Make It Even Worse For Other Nations”

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Anonymous Coward says:

He has been trying for a while to get TPP to require the same 12 years’ monopoly of drug safety data that the US provides for so-called “biologic drugs,” in addition to the normal patent protection they enjoy.

How about a compromise… They get the 12 years, but if the drug goes on the market, it’s reduced to zero.

I’m fine with them protecting their research, but not at the expense of people not knowing how safe the drugs they are taking are.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:


Oh but this globalism isn’t the true globalism, either. Just like the mythic awesome capitalism and the no such thing as a free market that have never existed anywhere ever. Capitalism as practiced has been highly worthy of hate long before and concept of globalism in this sense ever arose. People didn’t need to make claims about it. Just like people who suffered under really badly done socialism or anything else.

But poor Hatch and his ‘I don’t know about you, but I demand this of several major governments’. Maybe he will be saved if the whole pile of dreck is tossed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: TTP

Wait, capitalism was not mythical. People still do get to own their businesses despite the fact that it all is overly regulated.

I do know that the test for ownership is… do you get to keep it if you give no one or nothing another dime? And if you own a business this is true. If you earn no more money you owe no more to government. It may be a dead business, but you still own it.

Now free-market… that is for all practical purposes not technically achievable as long as there is a single rule upon it by an authority. That being said, we can still come very close to a free market in spirit like we did in the distant past.

All we need do, is provide only the most minimal of regulation, entirely focused upon only anti-trust and anti-monopoly regulation. If a business gets too big, it gets broken up. No one should ever posses more wealth than 0.01% of the entire economy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: TTP

Laissez-faire capitalism is your perfect economic model?

Models are great and all but most are severely lacking in the accuracy department. For example, look at the abject failure known as trickle down or supply side economics. This vile pos sold to an unsuspecting public has been screwing them for decades and has not yet shown any signs of “working”, other than making a very few very rich … so I guess they would say it is working just fine. But hey – look at Kansas where austerity and free market have shown what a complete failure looks like.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 TTP

That’s because “the free market” doesn’t and can’t ever exist. It’s a myth designed to shut people up and to divide them between Team A and Team B, the idea being to mark Team B out as a boogeyman and the enemy. It’s what happens when you base an entire philosophy on a lie.

In any case, the correct word is “Mercantilism.” That’s where the laissez-faire philosophy ultimately comes from and it’s killed million of people by insisting that the market will correct itself, despite it not being the market’s job to resolve famines, etc.

What we need is a more fair, free, and open market in which artificial constraints don’t interfere with the forces of supply and demand to the detriment of our societies. Competition does in fact keep you honest, as long as we actually have some.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Eternal?

How? Because Americans LOVE corruption despite the general mouth breathing to the contrary.

I am willing to bet that you do not know of a single corrupt thing your rep had done. I am also definitely betting they have done at least 5 corrupt things.

Problem is that corruption is hugely overlooked by your fellow citizens because their special corrupt bastard got them something. It may not have been much they did get them enough to stay elected.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Eternal?

They way our laws are written, everyone commits a crime several times a day without being aware of it.

Your assertion that I love corruption is .. ummm – wrong.
As is the case for a significant portion of the population, you are wrong. Your mouth breathing is likely due to your overweight condition, you probably need to get out more.

I doubt the local politician’s corrupt behavior is “overlooked” as you claim. More likely, said behavior is not known to the general public. Do you have any data in support of your claims?

Skeeter says:

The True TPP

I think, when it’s all said and done, TPP will end up ratified by the US, and when you finally get to ‘read what is inside’ it, most are going to be horrified as to exactly how much this ‘hidden treaty’ negatively affects us all. From adverse affects in small business operations in-nation, to complete world power-shifts based on ‘who can make, and who can sell’ that you haven’t even seen yet. I know that anytime 500 ‘world corporations’ get ‘sovereign status’ in a treaty to do ‘exceptional things’ that others will not be able to do, you have a really, really bad recipe for ‘oligarchy express’. Bottom line: think you can’t deal with or compete against big software companies now? Wait until they can fight you on grounds that you aren’t privileged enough to stand on.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: The True TPP

I think, when it’s all said and done, TPP will end up ratified by the US, and when you finally get to ‘read what is inside’ it, most are going to be horrified as to exactly how much this ‘hidden treaty’ negatively affects us all.

It’s been available to read for a while(after being kept secret for years of course), and yes, it’s really, really bad. For the public at least, the corporations who wrote the thing make out like bandits.

Anonymous Coward says:

One thing that made fast track a very close vote is that TPP did not include any clauses to deal with currency manipulation, and quite a few on the house, in the last Congress indicated that if TPP did not have any currency maaipulation clauses they might not vote for it

While TPP will probably pass, unfortunately, the vote will be very very close, I think. Fast track only passed in the house by something like one or two votes.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Keep on going you crazy man!

Personally I don’t think he’s going nearly far enough, he should demand life (of the company) plus seventy years, if not infinity minus a day for the duration. Really put the screws to the other countries and make it clear what the USG thinks of them, hopefully to the point where they realize that signing on to the corporate wishlist might be a bad idea.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: "Your choices are to be shot in the right leg or the left leg. 'Neither' is not an option."

When your typical choices are:

A) Corporate bought stooge with an (R) before their name…


B) Corporate bought stooge with a (D) before their name…

vs. (technically)

C) Independent with shoestring budget that pretty much no-one knows exists because they don’t get any coverage and can’t afford to advertise their campaign due to funds that are a fraction of A and B…

… on top of a voting system that encourages defensive voting, where you vote against who you really don’t want in rather than for who you do want in, it’s not surprising that things are just a wee bit screwed up.

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