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Media Watch, 1
Monday, August 16, 2004
US NOW THE LEAD IN THE FREE TRADE TANGO
According to the Washington-published Free Trade Journal:
US private sector sources said the Labor Party amendments would violate the TRIPS agreement [WTO rules on patents] because they would set up penalties that only pharmaceutical patent holders would be subject to. This would violate Article 27.1 of the TRIPS, which prohibits governments from discriminating against specific technologies by setting up specific obstacles to protecting certain patents, such as those on pharmaceuticals, private sector sources said.
The Latham amendments will now get the rounds of the Washington lobbies and bureaucracies, with George W Bush's sign-off required before a deal comes into effect.
Bush will be in no hurry. The issue now hangs over the Australian election campaign as a potential "Agreement overboard" show-stopper.