And now on to Singapore!

by | Dec 17, 2012 | Uncategorized

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The TPP train came and went, with negotiators concluding their work on the 15th round in Auckland on 12 December.  According to official reports further progress was made in narrowing differences with a view to concluding the negotiation in 2013. It is clear however that negotiators have a lot of work to do to meet this goal and meet the challenge set by the business community.  Particular sticking points remain in market access for agriculture, intellectual property, pharmaceutical issues and investor/state dispute settlement.   The agriculture and intellectual property issues are the most contentious for New Zealand.  On the one hand, Prime Minister John Key has ruled out concluding TPP without dairy and major changes to Pharmac; on the other, a range of stakeholders are concerned that tougher IP disciplines could stifle innovation, particularly in the software industry, raise the costs of medicines, and restrict the use of material available on the Internet.  New Zealand has interests on all sides of the IP debate and negotiators will need to work hard to find a comfortable landing zone. The TPP talks were the occasion for robust debate at the TPP Stakeholder Forum where 75 stakeholders who gave presentations on a range of issues including intellectual property, the benefits of TPP to business, health, labour, investment, e-commerce and the environment. Over 280 stakeholders registered to attend the day.  New Zealand business views were well represented. Earlier in the week 50 business leaders representing the larger part of New Zealand’s productive economy voiced their support for the TPP process in an open letter to the Prime Minister.   The TPP train now rolls on to Singapore where the 16th round will be held 4-13 March 2013.

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