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TPP leak: US babies following bathwater down the drain

America has overplayed its hand

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Updated: Singapore talks flopped America is pushing too hard on too many fronts in the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty negotiations, making it unlikely the treaty will be finalised this year, according to a new round of leaked documents from the recent Salt Lake City meetings.

The latest leaks, posted at Wikileaks, reveal how deeply unpopular some of America's most treasured TPP positions are.

For example, the US position on Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) is rejected by most of the countries involved in the treaty negotiations: only Australia, Peru, Mexico and Singapore are willing to stand with America.

America is completely isolated on the idea that its “Mickey Mouse law” of copyright terms should be the standard for the TPP treaty. The other countries in the negotiations also want their local parallel importation regimes to stay in place, rather than accede to America's parallel importation proposals.

It appears the US also offered up the idea that signatories should establish “criminal offenses for unintentional infringements of copyright”, something that's been universally smacked down.

The most recent negotiating round in Salt Lake City seems to have been a debacle – or, rather (in the gently circumlocutory prose of diplomacy), the US chief negotiator “met with all twelve countries and said that they were not progressing according to plan”, the leaked commentary states.

“One country remarked that up until now there had not been any perceivable substantial movement on the part of the US, and that is the reason for the situation,” it continues.

There is now gloom about whether the next round of negotiations in Singapore this month will do any better: “It is noted that the scenario for Singapore seems uncertain”, and the current state of negotiations “demonstrates a situation that makes it very difficult to think of a complete closure in December.”

With regards to the IP chapter in the treaty, the commentary says there are “serious doubts as to what will happen in Singapore … it will not be possible to conclude this issue in Singapore”. ®

Update: Spin it how they like, the Singapore talks broke down, The Register presumes at least partly due to American intransigence.

According to the ministerial statement posted by Knowledge Economy International (KEI), the "significant progress" achieved in Singapore wasn't enough to seal the deal.

The boilerplate for "this is a mess" says: "have decided to continue our intensive work in the coming weeks toward such an agreement", and "following additional work by negotiators, we intend to meet again next month."

In other words, all the non-US countries can expect a small blip in their inbound tourism as Men In Black from the USTR, copyright rent-seekers, the US pharmaceutical industry ship in to be conducted around diplomatic missions and any ministerial office that will receive them.

Things went so badly that statements from the USTR indicate there won't be a December meeting. The next round will "probably" be held in January, according to Tweets from KEI director James Love, who is on the ground. ®

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