Must-Read: Ezra Klein: Why Adam Posen Thinks Obama’s TPP Is Worth Passing

Must-Read: The key negotiating questions on TPP are how to make the pharmaceutical IP carve-out work, and how to make sure ISDS levels regulatory playing fields up rather than down. The judgment call from a technocratic point of view is how much are these worth–should they be put forward as negotiating-position dealbreakers, and should they really be dealbreakers?

Ezra Klein: Why Adam Posen Thinks Obama’s TPP Is Worth Passing: “Companies, Posen continues, have taken ISDS…

…much too far…

We’re now getting into things that aren’t like buying a mine. We’re getting into issues of cultural property, health, and safety. It’s legitimate for a poor country as much as a rich country to say, “If you want to trade here, you need to follow our domestic rules on things like food safety and local content on films.” And some companies, including US companies, have gone to extremes to try to get these local regulations interpreted as forms of expropriation. I don’t think that’s right or necessary. I don’t think ISDS should be a back door for companies to get around local regulations they don’t like….

Posen is broadly supportive of the IP provisions in the deal, but he thinks the critics have some fair points:

I do think there is a lot of room for increasing enforcement of rich countries’ brand protections, diminishing pirated films and music (though less of an issue in today’s digital world), and especially protecting industrial technologies…. [But] on pharma, there has to be some sort of constructive compromise so that the US isn’t overdoing the protection of profits and costs to poor people…

Posen… backs a proposal by Caroline Freund that would shorten the TPP’s pharmaceutical patent exclusivity from 12 years… to seven….

A major part of TPP is potentially orienting, if not anchoring, important developing markets on a market-friendly outwards-facing, and yes pro-US and pro-democracy, path….

The way TPP will turn countries towards the US, in Posen’s telling, isn’t through the governments, but through the ‘business and political integration through trade,’ the ‘winning hearts and minds’ that comes through foreign investment and more routine business dealings…

May 14, 2015

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