TPP Is Back, Minus Copyright Provisions And Pharma Patent Extensions, In A Clear Snub To Trump And The US

from the canada,-leader-of-the-free-world? dept

As Techdirt noted back in November, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was not killed by Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the deal. Instead, something rather interesting happened: one of the TPP’s worst chapters, dealing with copyright, was “suspended” at the insistence of the Canadian government, which suddenly took on a leading role. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether this was merely a temporary ploy, or was permanent. With news that the clumsily-named “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CPTPP) has been “concluded“, it now seems that the exclusion of both copyright and pharma patent extensions is confirmed. As Michael Geist writes:

the IP chapter largely reflected U.S. demands and with its exit from the TPP, an overhaul that more closely aligns the agreement to international standards was needed. Canada succeeded on that front with an agreement to suspend most of the controversial IP provisions including those involving copyright term, patent extension, biologics protection, and digital lock rules.

That’s the good news. But there’s still plenty of bad stuff in the CPTPP, a sample of which is listed here by The Atlantic:

A controversial arrangement whereby companies can sue countries over their domestic laws, known as the investor-state dispute settlement [ISDS — corporate sovereignty] system, remains in a reduced fashion. Labor and environmental protections are largely unchanged [and unsatisfactory]. The EFF’s [Jeremy] Malcolm pointed to e-commerce provisions that provide only weak privacy protections, among other issues, as still being problematic. But overall, the new deal is so similar to the original that Canadian labor unions are furious that their government is still advancing it, just as labor groups in the U.S. objected under Obama.

That anger means that even in the absence of the copyright and pharma patent extensions, there is still likely to be some resistance to the new deal, and not just in Canada. For example, economists estimate that the CPTPP will boost Australia’s economy by only 0.04% per year — a negligible amount that will be swamped by fluctuations in other factors. Some Australian businesses warn that the continuing existence of bilateral trade deals with eight of the CPTPP countries will lead to a complex “noodle bowl” of rules and regulations that could make it harder, not easier, to conduct business with them. In New Zealand, a long-standing critic of TPP, Professor Jane Kelsey, is particularly worried about a chapter on electronic commerce. And in Malaysia, a consumer group has urged the government there not to sign the deal, which it said would be “even worse” than TPP for the country.

Although we still don’t have the final details of the deal, and the lingering presence of corporate sovereignty is regrettable, the CPTPP signals a hopeful shift away from the usual intellectual monopoly maximalism. The omission of copyright and patents from the new deal is a significant defeat for the US, which has been the main driving force behind their routine inclusion. And the fact that the CPTPP is going ahead at all without the US is a clear snub to Trump and his rejection of such multilateral trade negotiations.

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Comments on “TPP Is Back, Minus Copyright Provisions And Pharma Patent Extensions, In A Clear Snub To Trump And The US”

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58 Comments
Roger Strong (profile) says:

It’s not a snub, because it’s not about Trump and the US.

The US elected a government that proudly favors isolationism – even though it means having less influence internationally.

If one kid takes his marbles and storms off, the other kids can keep playing because that’s what THEY want to do. There’s simply no longer any reason to keep using that one kid’s favorite rules, so it’s not a snub to drop them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The US elected a government that proudly favors isolationism”

A tad bit too much hyperbole there Roger. But it’s not like you are intelligent enough to know any better.

There really is a big difference between isolationism and favoritism. We are very involved all over the world at multiple levels and hardly proudly isolationist by any measurement.

Stop with the stupid, it just makes you look dumb to people that know better.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, let’s see:

– The current administration has withdrawn from the TPP – diminishing America’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region as this story demonstrates. It’s promised and is expected to withdraw from NAFTA after its unrealistic demands are unmet. It’s slapping heavy duties on everything from solar panels to aircraft, in violation of existing agreements.

– It’s rejected the Paris climate agreement, UNESCO, trade deals, the Iran nuclear deal and more. During the election it threatened to withdraw from NATO.

– It’s proudly closed its doors to refugees. Leading to waves of already-arrived refugees showing up on the Canadian border from the US. No hyperbole.

– It brands some countries home of murderers and rapists, others home of terrorists, and others “sh_thole countries.” It sees America as a victim nation, accusing China of committing “rape” and “theft” against the United States.

Perhaps you should take a break from Breitbart and look at what’s going on in the world around you.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It doesn’t defend the TPP.

It does however point out that dropping out (as opposed to say, fixing it) diminishes America’s influence in the TPP countries. That’s true no matter what you think of the TPP.

As for “Trump Derangement Syndrome”, that would be your belief that anything other than adulation of Trump – even merely carrying on one’s business regardless of him – is an attack on him.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I don’t see the delusion. It’s possible to believe the TPP was a bad deal and also believe that it would have been in the US’s best interests to try and negotiate a better deal rather than drop out entirely.

Of course, it seems to me that it never could have become a better deal as long as the US was involved. The worst parts of it came from the US.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

True, that. If you look through all of TD’s posts we’ve been complaining about it all the way through since it first came to light. We bashed the Obama administration repeatedly (the USTR got a right hammering!) over the lack of transparency — and Hillary over her neoliberal embrace of anything with “free trade” in the title.

Trump rejected it in the name of isolationism, not because it would have done more damage than NAFTA to American businesses and workers.

TPP is still problematic. If Trump gets back on board, would he make it better or worse? The clue is in the IPR chapters; if he goes ahead with those it’ll be worse.

As some of the commenters here have said, we have a choice between Kodos or Kang; both sides have their issues. Arguably Trump is worse than “Business as usual” Hillary because of his belligerent isolationism but that doesn’t mean I like Hillary — or that any of the rest of us are fans.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Eh. The joke in "Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos" is that both candidates were exactly the same. That was a much more reasonable observation in 1996 than 2016. (Heck, the same show that gave us "Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos" gave us "I will not plant SubliminAl messaGores" on the blackboard four years later, and clearly showed Homer trying to vote for Obama eight years after that.)

I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton, and given that we’re talking specifically about the TPP, I’ll grant that that’s one issue where I think Trump did the right thing (albeit for the wrong reason) and Clinton would not have. But I honestly can’t think of any others.

Again, I’m not a fan of Clinton. Her economic stances are too neoliberal, her foreign policy stances are too bellicose, and while she seems to have moved to the left on social issues, her record there is historically spotty. All those things said, the notion that she and Trump are equivalent is absurd.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Well, yes and no on the similarity.

Looking at them solely on the Conservative-Liberal axis makes it pretty clear they aren’t equivalent.

But that’s not the only axis in play here.

What if we look at the Libertarian-Authoritarian axis instead? Hmm. On that axis, they’re so close to identical, you might need a crowbar to see into the gap between them.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

A two-dimensional representation of the entire range of political positions is less reductive than a one-dimensional one, but it’s still pretty fucking reductive.

I’ll agree that Clinton is on the same side of the libertarian/authoritarian axis as Trump. The question of degree is debatable and subjective and depends on the criteria you choose to calculate such a number — which, again, by its nature is pretty fucking reductive.

That said, I don’t see her being nearly as fawning toward authoritarians like Erdogan and Putin, nor openly mocking Kim.

I maintain that the differences are visible and significant, and it’s perfectly possible to see that even if you view the two candidates as bad and worse.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Good points, both of you.

If there’s anything neoliberals tend to be good at it’s pretending to disapprove of the likes of Erdogan and Putin, while doing sod all about them.

The difference in this case between Hillary and Trump is that Trump tells you what he’s thinking; indeed, he can’t keep his gob shut. Hillary plays her cards close to her chest and tends to sound more professional. Basically, one dumps dirt on the carpet, the other sweeps the dirt beneath it or pretends it isn’t there. Neither of them actually deals with the dirt.

MinchinWeb (profile) says:

Canada's entry to the TPP

Maybe Canada’s pushback against the IP chapter should not be surprising at all.

Canada was admitted to the TPP after negotiations had already started. Some of the biggest pushback to Canada joining seemed to come from the US. Eventually, the US allowed Canada to join, but on condition that Canada could not challenge any of the completed chapters, the most prominent of which was… the IP chapter.

So with the US not involved and around to push back, it makes sense that Canada would consider the IP chapter and negotiate it for effectively the first time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Canada's entry to the TPP

It sort of signals how incredibly damaging the way USITC is basically money donors for political parties getting a job partially sponsored by lobbyists representing ie. MPAA is for the public good.

It also implicates USTR and how incredibly propagandistic they are towards representing their private citizen advisory boards which has even less oversight and more of a golden rule (he who has the gold makes the rules) than USITC and they write the trade agreement drafts that USA posits in international negotiations.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Canada's entry to the TPP -- Oh, "MinchinWeb", back from outer space, I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face

Has he even gotten around to explaining what dumb-ass conspiracy he’s imagining from old posters showing back up, or does he just keep noting it happening every month or so and act like everyone is supposed to understand what’s so sinister about it?

Apropos of nothing, here’s a link to my Slashdot profile, which has one post from 2008 and then a smattering from 2017. Almost as if, sometimes, people read popular websites, stop for awhile, and then come back years later.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Canada's entry to the TPP -- Oh, "MinchinWeb", back from outer space, I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face

I think I’ve got a Techdirt account.
I really can’t be arsed with it so I routinely post as AC. Have done for literally years, maybe even a decade, so it’s exactly the kind of account that would infuriate him.
If I ever decide to make a comment I want to hear back about, I’ll log into that account (and hopefully it’ll let me reactivate it to one of the email addresses I’ve switched to in the intervening years).

I’m thoroughly stumped about what significance the voices in that other AC’s head will apportion to such an event though.

Anonymous Coward says:

OMG! Globalists snub Trump again! SNUB! -- Must be near a thousand times now!

Of late, I have difficulty getting to even first paragraph of a TD attack piece. — And there’s no need. — Techdirt loads the headline up with every bit of contempt expressible in a few words. Here, gets in a three-fer: Trump and the US. Note that it’s not US Trade Rep or "US Policy"; no, Techdirt is clearly gleeful that not just those who produce copyright works or inventions are snubbed, but the entire US.

Anyhoo, as I’ve asked before: is TD for or against TPP? Without the prior useful protections for US industries, it’s just nation-destroying corporatism, so my bet is YES.

Now I’ll at least skim the piece…

Uh huh. Equivocal as before: first "there’s still plenty of bad stuff in the CPTPP", and "the lingering presence of corporate sovereignty is regrettable,", but minion still ends up "the CPTPP signals a hopeful shift away from the usual intellectual monopoly maximalism."

Then minion repeats the dig at Trump: "a clear snub to Trump and his rejection of such multilateral trade negotiations." — Clearly minion approves of entangling the US in globalism.

"The omission of copyright and patents from the new deal is a significant defeat for the US" — actually, there’s no win for the US of A if agree to ANY part of globalism.

Other countries being sold out by their politicians is not cause for my glee as appears to be for minion. But if WE stay out even more because Big Content and Big Pharma are miffed, that’s FINE with me!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: OMG! Globalists snub Trump again! SNUB! -- Must be near a thousand times now!

If you check the box “Use markdown for basic formatting.”, you can put asterisks around something to make it italicized for emphasis rather than using capitalization all over the place.

Also, people might be more inclined to listen if you didn’t refer to someone as “minion”.

And, if you’re trying to offer constructive criticism with any chance of effecting change, you might look to the posts by Rodger Strong and Rick Battle. They too took issue with some of the language used by Glyn Moody, but I doubt their posts will be flagged because of how their criticism is conveyed. While yours comes off as the angry rantings of some one who has lost touch with reality.

Communication is a skill which takes practice and an effort to change. And as desperate to convey your points as you seem to be, you might stand a better chance of actually convincing people on a least some small part if your posts weren’t so caustic, accusatory, and conspiracy theory-esque.

To answer one of your questions “Anyhoo, as I’ve asked before: is TD for or against TPP?” If you’ve read so much TechDirt, I should think it should be clear the general answer to that question is “they are against it” as there are many terrible things in it. It may be that there are provisions in it that they like, I do not know. But if you’re asking if they’re categorically against the idea of multinational trade deals, I think the answer is “no”. As you should have seen, they evaluate and support law, convention, and rules on a case by case basis as to whether that individual thing would be good for people as a whole rather than by it’s ideological category.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: OMG! Globalists snub Trump again! SNUB! -- Must be near a thousand times now!

I think it’s funny how blue boy will whine about globalists on one article, then insist nobody, not even Thais can disagree with their monarchy or lese majeste laws. Because apparently if you’re not a globalist you suddenly care about the reputation of a monarch on the other side of the planet.

Or maybe blue’s just full of it as any functioning human would have realized.

Anonymous Coward says:

This isn't a snub on Trump ... it's actually what he got right

If anything Tump pulling out of this and the Paris agreement has done the world and the U.S. some massive favors. These bills are no longer dogged by provisions lobbied for by giant corrupt American corporations. Which essentially made the TPP a way for American companies to bludgeon other countries into submission or the Paris agreement lack any teeth.

Since the U.S. has pulled out both these bills have moved in much more progressive productive directions which will actually be beneficial to the world. With these in place the U.S. will eventually have to join but will have to follow what the rest of the world end up setting rather then what they dictated. In essence this is true capitalism and democracy winning out. Not the crony capitalism the U.S. currently practices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This isn't a snub on Trump ... it's actually what he got right

Trump may have got this right, but what dark corner did you pull the logic out of that this was true capitalism or democracy in action?

Capitalism is neither crony or non-crony. Capitalism just means people get to privately own businesses instead of being run by the state. It has NOTHING to do with good or bad or true or not true capitalism.

And we are already well informed of how these deals get negotiated… nothing democratic about a single fucking letter of it. come off it!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This isn't a snub on Trump ... it's actually what he got right

“If only he actually did it for the right reasons.”

Something that can always be leveled at every decision ever made on the political scene. The result is what matters not the reasons because those are usually never actually given to you!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: This isn't a snub on Trump ... it's actually what he got right

My point is that if he were doing it for the right reasons, he would be making a lot more decisions that were actually good for the people of this country. Obviously he and many other politicians don’t give a shit, but I’m arguing for what should be not what is as evidenced by my use of the phrase “if only”.

Anonymous Coward says:

This isn’t a snub on Trump. You could potentially make the argument that its a snub on Obama as he was the one pushing it if you really wanted to point fingers at an individual. Not to mention it seems like the author has just added it to the title and the final sentence of the article as an afterthought in an attempt to add more fuel the the dumpster fire that is “Trump.” It’s highly unnecessary as he has a twitter account for that.

That One Guy (profile) says:

In the same sense that the surface of the sun is 'mildly toasty'

Although we still don’t have the final details of the deal, and the lingering presence of corporate sovereignty is regrettable,

‘Regrettable’ in the same sense that having cyanide in your breakfast cereal is ‘regrettable’ perhaps, and for roughly the same reason. So long as corporate sovereignty is included those involved should refuse to sign it, as it does nothing less than screw over countries by granting excessive power to private companies.

That some of the other toxic provisions were removed does not make that poison pill any better.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'Better than it was' does not quite reach 'good'

Ah, but I support the “corporate sovereignty” provisions.

People – investors – should be compensated when a government changes the rules in mid-stream. Governments should be allowed to do it, but they should compensate the losers who invested in good faith.

It’s a bit like the Takings clause in the Bill of Rights – government can take your property for public use, if they determine that’s in the best interest of the public.

But if they do, they have to compensate you for your loss.

Specific people shouldn’t be made to suffer for the good of all – taxes are supposed to spread that burden fairly. Not just on the guy who happened to be in the way of where the road is going to run.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 'Better than it was' does not quite reach 'good'

No, it’s a reason that your "won’t somebody please think of the corporations?" concern is completely ass-backwards.

In a dispute between protections of corporate profits and protections of the environment, consumers, and workers, you’re not gonna find me taking the "corporate profits" side very often. I’m not gonna weep for Philip Morris’s poor shareholders because a government passed laws making it harder to sell cigarettes to children.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 'Better than it was' does not quite reach 'good'

To add/elaborate:

The possibility of changing regulations is part of every company’s risk assessment. It’s their risk, not mine. If you’re in the auto manufacturing business, you go into it knowing that environmental and safety regulations are going to change over time, and you consider those risks in your pricing.

What you’re suggesting is that risk should be socialized and profits should be privatized. I’d say "that’s not how it works", but sadly, at this point it pretty much is.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'Better than it was' does not quite reach 'good'

People – investors – should be compensated when a government changes the rules in mid-stream. Governments should be allowed to do it, but they should compensate the losers who invested in good faith.

Then take them to court over it. If the problem is that they don’t think that the court will treat them fairly, then what are they doing business for in that country in the first place?

If a country gets a reputation of screwing over outside companies then after a while only the stupid and/or greedy ones will set up shop there, and while that may be unfortunate for the former companies should not be placed on an even footing as countries, granted access to a ‘court’ that is completely outside the legal system everyone else is bound to.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 'Better than it was' does not quite reach 'good'

Not from what I understand, it doesn’t.

From what I understand, it lets them take it to an unaccountable tribunal of arbitrators, who – by the structure of the system – are highly likely to be biased in favor of the corporations. (At least the bigger ones.)

That is in no way better than taking it to a court which is highly likely to be biased in favor of the countries.

If we thought the people who would sit on the ISDS tribunals could be trusted to be fair and impartial in their rulings, at least as much as those who sit on the national courts can, we might not object to ISDS nearly so strongly. But from the impression I’ve gotten of the structure of the proposed systems, they almost certainly will be less trustworthy in that regard than those who sit on the courts of many countries.

ECA (profile) says:

Why in hell

Is our gov. trying to Force USA Corporate Policies onto Everyone on this planet??

USA is NOT #1..anymore. And when we were, WE WERE NOT BULLIES.. This is the Old idea that Corps can FORCE our gov. into military backup of THEIR CONCERNS..

NO! we did that already, A couple times and it FAILED..
This is that, Corps that CANT get the LAWS they want, in another country, BACKDOORING, another countries LAWS..
WHEN did we decide that CORPS were the way to go, in this world..MOST of them left, after the Pollution laws came around. AND even CHINA is getting upset about the pollution..JAPAN Kicked them out, the ROC, kicked most of them out…

FIND BETTER WAYS TO DO THE BUSINESS YOU DO…YOU CANT CHANGE SOVEREIGNTY..

Tenisha Govan says:

Ima just say not really a big fan of trump…he prolly b a gd business partner all back doring…..as seth in previos letters or emails …i think im just ‘oldschool’rwal things or situations comw from within its just way bettetnto act on thingw if its Genuinely from the its just build ‘BETTER BUSINESS FRIENDSHIPS ECT…..first in mon ths stimulates my mind with an intellectual conversations but as set forth will remain silent until ‘chiill sessins..or ‘Bae Systems updated

Tenisha Govan says:

Ima just say not really a big fan of trump…he prolly b a gd business partner all back doring…..as seth in previos letters or emails …i think im just ‘oldschool’rwal things or situations comw from within its just way bettetnto act on thingw if its Genuinely from the its just build ‘BETTER BUSINESS FRIENDSHIPS ECT…..first in mon ths stimulates my mind with an intellectual conversations but as set forth will remain silent until ‘chill sessins..or ‘Bae Systems updated not for binding arbitration claims but. For occasional lunch with old friend or other buisiness purposes here forth expess either oral or written……
Also promise not only to protect any right given an do my best to add n help improve any services an most defintily the Usa

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