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U.S. Senator Urges Obama Administration To Remain Firm On TPP Intellectual Property Provisions

“The U.S. should consider dropping countries from Trans Pacific Partnership [TPP] trade talks if they fail to accept its demands on data protections for drugs and unrestricted cross-border data flows,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), “the top Republican on the Senate finance committee” has said in “a letter to Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, urging the Obama administration to hold firm on tough intellectual property provisions in the negotiations, which are entering their final stage,” the Financial Times reports. “Hatch has long insisted that the U.S. pushes for 12 years of data exclusivity for biologic drugs, a position supported by pharmaceutical manufacturers but opposed by groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières who say it would restrict access to affordable medicine around the world,” the newspaper notes.

In the letter, “Hatch said he was ‘increasingly concerned’ that some of the 12 countries in the negotiations — spanning Asia, Latin America and North America — may not be willing to ‘undertake the high level of ambition to conclude a high-standard agreement’ and urged Mr. Froman to only ‘move forward’ with the countries that were on board,” the Financial Times writes (Politi, 12/3). “Hatch suggested wrapping up negotiations on a staggered timetable as countries become willing to meet the high TPP standards,” The Hill’s “On the Money” blog adds, noting, “Negotiators of the TPP — Vietnam, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile and Peru — have said they are aiming to complete a deal by year’s end” (Needham, 12/3). The New American highlights a recently published Salt Lake City Tribune opinion piece, in which Hatch “calls for approval of the [TPP] and for ‘breaking down trade barriers'” (Wolverton, 12/2).