(Sankei: July 25, 2015 – p. 9)
It was learned on July 24 that coordination is underway in the TPP talks to allow a transition period before the end of the data protection period for new drugs to be agreed upon by the TPP participating states. Data relating to the development of new drugs is intellectual property and the U.S. and the newly emerging nations have been at odds over the specific protection period. The proposal on a transition period is meant to help find a meeting ground between the two sides. Details will be discussed at the chief negotiators’ meeting starting in Maui, Hawaii on July 24 (July 25, Japan time).
The chief negotiators’ meeting is scheduled to end on July 27. During this time, discussions by a smaller number of countries on intellectual property and other issues will also take place. This will be followed by the ministerial meeting of the 12 TPP nations from July 28, which will work for reaching a basic agreement. A joint news conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. on the last day of the meeting on July 31 (8:30 a.m., Aug. 1 in Japan) to announce the results of the meeting.
Rules for the protection of intellectual property rights have been the toughest issue among the 31 chapters of the draft TPP agreement.
With regard to data protection period for new drugs, the U.S. is demanding 12 years, while Malaysia and other newly emerging nations, Australia, and New Zealand are proposing 5 years. Japan wants to work for a compromise of 8 years.
A source on the talks revealed that “a transition period is being considered for countries that will not be able to respond immediately.” However, it is still unclear whether this will resolve the conflict.
In addition to intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, investment, and one other chapter will require final political decisions at the ministerial level.
TPP Minister Akira Amari points out that, “Each country has to deal with domestic circumstances. We will try to find meeting points, giving consideration to the situation in individual countries.” (Slightly abridged)