Australia heads to Atlanta for last-ditch talks to revive Trans-Pacific Partnership

According to an article posted on September 25th, 2015 in The Sidney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-heads-to-atlanta-for-lastditch-talks-to-revive-transpacific-partnership-20150924-gjumn3.html, Australia and the other 11 countries involved in the stalled Trans-Pacific Partnership will restart negotiations the week of Monday 9/28/2015, with the possibility of an agreement by the end of the week. According to Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb, “There are some unresolved issues, but I don’t believe they are intractable.” The TPP talks broke down in Hawaii in August, after disputes between medicines, cars, and dairy products. Mr. Robb and the Australian government have seen enormous pressure from the US to extend the period of data protection for new biotech medicines called biologic drugs. The US wants 12 years where drug manufacturers could charge high prices, but Australia wants no more than the present 5 years. The fresh round of talks in Atlanta that started on Monday could end as soon as the following Sunday, which would create a new trade zone that would include 40% of the world’s economy. Among several other issues, the dispute between the US and Australia on medicines will be a key factor on whether the TPP is passed or not. Mr. Robb said that he remained committed to playing a constructive role to help conclude a high quality TPP.

Do you think the US and Australia will be able to come to an agreement on biologic drugs? What other potential issues could arise from these talks in Atlanta? Is Sunday 10/4/2015 a reasonable deadline to complete the talks?

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