- In the latest rounds of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks in Maui, the 12 participating countries could not finalize an agreement. Three major areas of contention included agriculture, autos, and pharmaceuticals, Politico reports.
- The lack of an agreement complicates President Obama's goal of completing the pact and having a vote scheduled in Congress for the wide-ranging trade agreement as soon as possible.
- Political analysts have argued that if a deal is not scheduled ahead of the presidential primaries, the 28 Democrats who voted for trade promotion authority (which would allow a simple up-or-down vote on the deal) could be pressured into withholding their support for final TPP deal.
The TPP member states, including Brunei, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, and the United States, reached an impasse in Maui last week, with several major sticking points.
One contentious point continues to be biologics. Branded manufacturers in the U.S. want 12 years of patent protection for new biologics, while others, such as a group of countries including Australia and the generic pharmaceutical industry, want five years of protection in order to make room for the development and marketing of cheaper biosimilar drugs.
Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative, expressed his confidence that the deal would go forward and that the group would be able to resolve its issues. But time is running out, which does not bode well for the fate of the deal. The date of the next meeting has not yet been scheduled.