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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

TPP blocked, at least for now

Breaking news: The United States Senate failed to end a filibuster on giving the President fast-track negotiating authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and any future deals for a six-year period.

According to The New York Times, the bill failed with only a 52-45 majority for it, when 60 votes were needed to end the filibuster. The biggest complaint among swing Democrats was that the TPP does not have enforceable provisions against currency manipulation -- such as practiced by China which, though not currently involved in the negotiations, would seem like a logical future party to the agreement. The Times reported that Japan and Malaysia are both opposed to this provision.

For the time being, then, we are spared an expansion of investor-state dispute settlement and further unnecessarily strong protections for intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyright, etc.). Unfortunately, if the proponents of the measure can reach a compromise with a group of eight Democrats (including Ron Wyden of Oregon) on enforcement measures, then they would have the 60 votes they need.

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