Open letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Access to medicine is at the forefront of multilateral debates surrounding the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). This paper argues that bilateralism allows the United States to circumvent these debates and to set standards that serve and protect the pharmaceutical industry.
Differences over pharmaceuticals could be overcome, but the countries are far from reaching a common understanding on biodiversity issues.
Details of US proposals in free-trade talks with Thailand - perceived by many Thais as “forbidden information” the government has tried to cover up - were recently posted for all to see in cyberspace. Witoon Leanchamroon, director of BioThai, a non-government organisation working for bio-diversity and community rights, said at a press conference yesterday he had been told a group of Americans involved in public health issues had posted a full text of the patent chapter from the Thai-US free trade talks at www.bilaterals.org.
For the United States, intellectual property rights represent the single most valuable asset in light of the new reality of information-based economies and where they derive their national wealth. The supremacy of the US as a global power depends on how effective it is in acquiring and maintaining its ownership of knowledge assets.
Opponents of a free trade area (FTA) agreement with the US have lashed out at the government’s proposed amendment of Thai patent law to facilitate the United States’ patenting of drugs and living organisms in Thailand. They fear it would lead to greater control of the country’s resources by American firms.
Reeling from the negative publicity and pro-access to medicines messaging in Thailand and internationally, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has mounted a public relations campaign full of distortions and omissions.
Will the hands that save the lives of Thailand’s sick be tied once a free trade deal between this country and the United States is signed, later this year?
US proposal on ’patents’ and on ’measures related to certain regulated products’ for negotiation with Thailand under the IPR chapter of the current US-Thailand FTA talks.
Critics argue that the biodiversity provisions in the US-Peru FTA do not improve the status quo to effectively tackle concerns over misappropriation of biodiversity and TK.
Ecuador, along with Colombia, is reopening Wednesday in Washington joint negotiation over the copyright issue in the Free Trade Agreement with the US, despite growing refusal in Quito.
On the last day of the sixth round of Thai-US Free Trade Area talks, several academics and non-governmental bodies were invited to discuss their concerns with US negotiators on aspects of intellectual property rights, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical and life form patents. For a number of reasons, only one academic showed up.
The network of 11 civil society organisations which showed its opposition to the Thai-US Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations earlier this week in Chiang Mai Friday reaffirmed its intention to continue protesting the talks.
The Thai-US free-trade talks hit a snag yesterday after the head Thai negotiator for intellectual-property rights declared demands by the US for Thailand to tighten up drug patenting as “unacceptable”.
Thai AIDS activists and their international allies are
seeking suspension of scheduled trade talks that threaten to undermine
Thailand’s lawful ability to produce, import/export, and market low-cost
generic versions of life-saving medicines.
Thailand should think carefully about surrendering its sovereign rights under the WTO — and access to cheap medicine — in exchange for an FTA with the United States
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Monday shot down a proposal for Parliament to debate free trade agreements (FTAs), including a draft being negotiated between Thailand and the United States. "I see no justification for legislative debate on FTAs as Parliament does not have qualified personnel to scrutinise the matter," he said.
Rallies against free-trade talks between Thai and US officials today are set to draw a record number of protesters. Here are the reasons for this given by some planning to attend the protests.
Civil society sector is demanding that the Thai government not give in on reduction of tariffs for US agricultural product, not ratify the treaty on plant varieties protection, and not recognise patenting of biological resources. In addition, they said the Thai government must resist the US demand to extend protection of pharmaceutical patent to more than 20 years or to protect data exclusivity.
Opponents of the Australia-US free trade agreement are nothing if not obstinate - and opportunist. A year after the deal was done the world has not ended, but they still say catastrophe is imminent, especially for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.