March 12, 2018 | by    

Canada, 10 Other Countries Sign Trans-Pacific Partnership

On March 8, eleven countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

This trade agreement was modified somewhat from the original Trans-Pacific Partnership that was signed by the same eleven countries and the United States in 2016, but that never was considered by the U.S. Congress. The summary of the new agreement is available here and the full text is here.

While most of the original TPP provisions were preserved, approximately 20 provisions were modified, including:

  • Suspension of regulatory transparency and related disciplines;
  • Narrowing of the scope of investment protections, such that breaches of certain investment contract breaches cannot be taken to investor-state dispute settlement;
  • Suspension of data or market protection obligations for biologics;
  • Increased flexibility about what is patentable and changes in copyright protection;
  • Suspension of provisions requiring patent term extensions;
  • Changes to several of the digital and internet service provider provisions;
  • Suspension of provisions related to customs duties on express shipments and on postal monopolies; and
  • Suspension of provisions related to review of telecommunications regulatory bodies.

Canada and its 10 partners are now completing their domestic legal procedures to implement the CPTPP. The agreement will enter into force 60 days after six of the 11 members ratify the agreement. The signatories hope to complete ratification by mid-to-late 2018.

While President Donald Trump indicated in January 2018 that the United States would consider joining a “substantially better” TPP, his administration has not taken any action to begin those negotiations.