Wikileaks Leaks Secret International Trade Deal

Wikileaks Leaks Secret International Trade Deal

WikiLeaks had leaked a serious chapter of a secret international trade deal which the United States is presently negotiating with 11 Pacific countries.

The document seems to back up what some public health specialists and Internet freedom activists had long been afraid of. It says that the Obama administration is aggressively going after positions and laws that would cause an upsurge in the cost of medicine and also impede an open Internet.

Most of the provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership document, which was dated Aug. 30, are almost in duplicate to prior leaks that received disapproval from consumer groups and tech advocates. WikiLeaks. with its public release of this document, also shows which nations object to or support such terms. The American government believes the draft text should be classified. This is a status which has obstructed access for congressional advisers and excluded several lawmakers from being able to air their grievances.

Any nations that violate the trade agreement terms may be sued in international courts.

The TPP agreement would openly give power to corporations to directly challenge government regulations and laws. This is a political power which the World Trade Organization agreements have reserved for other self-governing nations. The United States has sanctioned such corporate governmental powers in earlier trade agreements, which include the North American Free Trade Agreement. Companies that include Eli Lilly, Dow Chemical and Exxon Mobil have attempted to use NAFTA to pull rank over Canadian guidelines on fracking, offshore oil drilling, drug patents, pesticides and other concerns.

The Obama administration is rejecting any disapproval that what it is doing is creating a corrupt agreement.

Carol Guthrie, who is a spokesperson for the Office of U.S. Trade, has stated that they are working with stakeholders, Congress members and various TPP negotiating associates in order to find a conclusion which promotes the creation of high wage jobs in American industries and also reflects their standards. This includes looking for balanced and strong copyright protections, along with better access to medicines.

The manuscript that WikiLeaks released showed that American mediators were going after a host of policies which might drive up medical costs by extending drug corporations’ and other companies’ domination on their products over the usual 20-year patent tenure. These provisions consist of criteria to extend patent terms, enlarge the conditions for which countries have to award drug patents, necessitate nations to issue newer patents where there are minor changes to a drug and create barriers to the use of pharmaceutical testing information. All of this aids in prevention of competition on the market from the generic form of drugs.

The United States has continually used political force against nations which tried to gain access to the generic versions of various AIDS drugs. America has also had numerous recent clashes with India over that country’s choice to give out a generic cancer drug that cost only $157 while the drug company Bayer was charging over $5,000 per month.

America has been able to avoid several of the worst implications of the huge copyright definitions by falling back on a strong set of exemptions. These include terms that allow using some copyrighted data without having to pay any fees. But, the TPP paper would create a constricted international standard for what is considered fair use, and thus stop other forms of exemptions.

WikiLeaks is a government transparency organization. It released the file on the same day that over 150 congressional Democrats sent President Obama a letter that objected to the process the president was hoping to use in order to get approval for the secret international trade deal. Two distinct letters from numerous House Republicans and Democrats, which were against the same practice, were also sent to the president this past week.

By Kimberly Ruble

The Huffington Post

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The Verge