Items tagged "USTR"

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Credit Where Credit Is Due: USTR Accommodates Stakeholder Presentations

June 5, 2012 TPP , Transparency , USTR

The US Trade Representative (USTR) just recently announced that it will accommodate both formal presentations and less structured events for stakeholders in the next round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. This is a promising step forward for the USTR’s public engagement efforts, even though it cannot solve the serious problems caused by the lack of transparency in the TPP negotiations.

Combining the Best of Both Worlds

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USTR Gone Rogue

May 16, 2012 TPP , Transparency , USTR

In previous blog posts, Public Knowledge generally described the stakeholder events that occurred this past weekend at the TPP negotiations in Dallas, to give readers a sense of the structure that public interest groups work within during negotiations. This post will be dedicated to the actual substance of the conversations we had with the USTR during those events.

Stakeholder Engagement: A Huge Disappointment

While we thought the general structure of the stakeholder tabling event has its advantages and disadvantages, the substance of the conversations we had with USTR representatives during that event made us seriously concerned that the USTR cannot be prevailed upon to represent the public without complete transparency.

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Live from the Trenches Part 2: TPP Stakeholder Event

May 12, 2012 TPP , USTR

Today Public Knowledge participated in the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) stakeholder tabling event for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), where stakeholders could sign up to sit at a table in hopes that negotiators working on their issues would come by to discuss their concerns. This event differs from previous stakeholders forums, where stakeholders made formal presentations to groups of negotiators together. Public Knowledge has written before about the difference between the two types of stakeholder events.

Having now participated in both kinds of stakeholder events, we find that there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Whether one event is more effective than the other depends upon the particular stakeholder, how well they already know the negotiators, and the level of transparency in negotiations.

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Copyright and the TPP: The Big Picture

May 12, 2012 TPP , USTR

As Public Knowledge dives into the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) secret negotiation process and the details of its copyright provisions, it is useful to periodically step back and consider how the intellectual property chapter of the TPP fits into the framework of the TPP as a whole. The copyright provisions of the TPP, as based on the text proposed by the U.S. that was leaked in February 2011, would contradict the TPP’s overall goal of creating a seamless Pacific market and would chill innovation to the detriment of both consumers and businesses.

The TPP generally is an ambitious effort to open trade and encourage investment among the countries that border the Pacific Ocean. That is why the TPP covers so many different areas of the economy, like agriculture, textiles, environmental protections, and intellectual property.

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Live from the Trenches: TPP Negotiations in Dallas

May 11, 2012 TPP , USTR

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations continue in Dallas, as promised, Public Knowledge is on the ground advocating for the public’s interest and urging negotiators to open the TPP process and allow public participation.

Here is a quick summary of what the TPP Dallas negotiations look like from the perspective of a public interest group like Public Knowledge.

Stakeholder Registration and Events

Stakeholders (people affected by the outcome of negotiations) have no access to the space where the actual negotiations take place. The entire floor where the negotiations take place is off-limits, and if you accidentally wander into the negotiators’ part of the hotel, security will kindly but firmly turn you around and direct you back to the lobby.

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Corporate Interests Using TPP to Protect Them From “Copycats”

May 9, 2012 MPAA , RIAA , SOPA , TPP , USTR

Yesterday, a collection of trade associations, including the RIAA, MPAA, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sent President Obama a letter [pdf] pressuring him to ratchet up protection and enforcement of intellectual property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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Next Round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Begins Tomorrow

May 7, 2012 Enforcement , International , TPP , Transparency , USTR

Tomorrow the 12th round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will begin, but the negotiating countries are still keeping the public in the dark while they strike a deal that may drastically increase copyright protection and enforcement.

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USTR Still Missing the Point

March 8, 2012 International , SOPA , TPP , Transparency , USTR

Yesterday, I attended the Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the President’s 2012 Trade Agenda. United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk was the sole witness and testified on behalf of the Administration. The hearing was an opportunity for UTSR to soothe public concerns and address the recent scrutiny it’s received for the secretive negotiation process surrounding TPP negotiations. Instead the USTR failed to seriously address the lack of public input within negotiations.  

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ACTA: If You Write A Trade Agreement No One Will Sign, What’s The Point?

February 14, 2012 Protect IP Act , RIAA , SOPA , Special 301 , USTR

Last summer, with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations stalled for two years because of Hollywood insistence adding all kinds of regulate-the-internet crazy stuff, we gave the US Trade Representative and the industries pushing for ACTA some friendly advice: “Drop the crazy stuff.”

Officially, the U.S. government wanted ACTA to stop people from bringing actual counterfeit goods into the country, or marketing actual counterfeit goods abroad. Thats why a lot of industry groups and companies wanted ACTA. Not because of they wanted to regulate the Internet and prop up the traditional business models of the movie and music industries, but to deal with the folks making wharehouses full of fake Louis Vitton bags and knock-off Omega watches.

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Proposed New Copyright Treaty Asks For Tougher Terms Than ACTA

March 11, 2011 Enforcement , International , Special 301 , TPP , USTR

Yesterday, a draft of the U.S. proposal for an intellectual property (IP) chapter of the transpacific partnership agreement (TPPA) leaked on the Internet. The U.S. proposal calls for IP protections and enforcement obligations more extensive than those called for in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) or the most recent U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – the Korea U.S. (KORUS) FTA.

Here are the highlights of the U.S. proposal:

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