Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How To Think About TPP, And Celebrate - Updated With Links

The last TPP Ministerial in Hawaii did not get the results that governments and corporations wanted. I think we need to celebrate.

We do not want more trade in cars, more trade in milk and meat. We don't want extended patents that will make medicines more expensive. And why should copyrights benefit Disney forever?

If we really care, the lack of results at the last TPP round actually mean that the amazing movement of citizens and consumers and environmental and labour activists - we won. We fought the system and it lost.


East Asia Forum: Will the TPP endgame get tangled in old spaghetti?

Huffington Post: TPP Threatens Access to Affordable Medications for People Around the World

Washington Post: Why NAFTA passed and the Trans-Pacific Partnership failed

The Sydney Morning Herald: Should Australia be wary of the TPP? Yes, Minister.

The Mainichi: Japan's TPP benefits limited as U.S. mulls taking 20 years to remove vehicle tariffs


LAHAINA, Hawaii -- The United States, Canada and Vietnam plan to remove import tariffs on Japanese automobiles over a period of 10 to 20 years under current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, it has been learned. The United States, the largest importer of Japanese cars, would take around 20 years to remove tariffs, meaning that for Japanese manufacturers of finished vehicles, benefits from the Pacific Rim free trade agreement would be limited for the time being. (...)

South Korea, a rival to Japan in trade, has already reached a free-trade agreement with the United States, under which the U.S. will eliminate tariffs on vehicle imports from South Korea in 2016. When the TPP comes into effect, it therefore seems unlikely that the Pacific Rim agreement will immediately boost Japan's competitiveness in exports to the U.S. 

The United States accounts for over 30 percent of Japan's exports of finished vehicles.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Guest Post Over At Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Guest post over at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about copyright issues and the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations – did Japan move closer to the US positions during the recent Maui talks in July, 2015? With Jeremy Malcolm, formerly at Consumers International:

Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will see a wide range of changes sweeping the economy and the community, in areas as diverse as food safety/food security, country of origin labeling rules, and copyright. As a staff member of Consumers Union of Japan, I am concerned about all of these issues—but I’m writing here about the copyright changes, which unlike in many other TPP countries have sparked national attention.
Copyright has been a sticking point for Japan in its trading relationship with the United States dating all the way back to 1945, when Japan was required to award the victors of the Second World War with 10 years of additional copyright protection. The U.S., Australia, and New Zealand are still benefiting from that even now, and Japan has asked for this to be rolled back in the TPP.
But the U.S. negotiators are demanding the opposite: like five other TPP countries, Japan is being asked to extend its copyright term by another 20 years, from life of the author plus 50 years as the Berne Convention requires, to life plus 70 years, and even longer for corporate-owned works. This is a proposal that Japan has considered repeatedly and rejected on the grounds that it would not benefit Japanese creators. Yet the U.S. will not take no for an answer.
In addition, Japan is being asked to adopt stricter copyright enforcement rules, including sky-high statutory damages awards, and the ability for police to take criminal action against alleged copyright infringers, even if the copyright owner does not file a complaint.

Japanese Creative Sector Speaks Out

The Japan Playwrights Association, the Japan Theatrical Producers Association, and the Japan Theatre Arts Association jointly issued an appeal, opposing the Japanese government’s participation in the TPP negotiations. Their appeal expresses strong concern that controversial issues on intellectual property rights are negotiated without any prior public debate in Japan.

Read the rest at EFF