At the conclusion of the first Trans-Pacific Partnership meeting to be held in Tokyo, the working group meeting on intellectual property said they will be working on fast-tracking a deal by the end of 2013. This has been one of the major sticking points for the free trade negotiations between the 12 member countries of the US-led TPP.
Japan’s deputy chief negotiator Hiroshi Oe said in a press conference that during the five-day meeting, they were able to discuss all the necessary issues in order to move the talks forward. However, he cautioned that it would be too “optimistic” to say that everything is a go already, comparing the TPP talks to climbing a mountain. Despite not mentioning any of the details of the meeting, he assured the media that they are speeding up the work to make it by the end of the year.
Among the things that the TPP countries have not agreed upon are patent terms for new drugs to be developed. The US has been pushing for an extended patent term so that the pharmaceutical companies can get back their normally very expensive research and development costs. However, Malaysia has opposed this deal, saying it can lead to the blocking of the dissemination of the cheaper, generic medicine. On another matter, Japan is looking for stricter policies to crackdown on piracy of animation series and cartoon characters.
The twelve member countries of the TPP are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The next round of TPP talks will be a ministerial meeting on December 7-9 in Singapore, and the goal is to conclude the major free trade deals by the end of the year.
[ via Global Post ]