Biotech threatens Presidents Agenda

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For the Obama administration, the heady emotion over congressional passage of trade promotion authority in June has provided an outlet to at least temporary frustration. A dozen nations have talked in Hawaii that many believed might produce a final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement instead broke up at the end of July with no agreement.

Sticking points are guarded between a three-way dispute over truck tariffs involving Japan, United States, and Mexico to market access for New Zealand’s dairy products in the united states. Canada’s election campaign may cripple the nation’s ability to cut a deal well into the fall, but if things drag out much further the trade pact could get tied up in U.S. presidential election politics.

No problem created more problems in the latest round of discussion in the latest round of talks or in the general political debate over the TPP than the question of intellectual property and other protections for America’s pharmaceutical industry. To be certain, the word “protection” would not seem to belong in a debate of free trade to start with. Various critics of the proposed agreement debate that Big Pharma, abetted by President Obama’s negotiators, is none the less making an effort to use the TPP to obtain greater control of the global market in medicine

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