Leaked TPP text puts NZ's economic future at risk - lobby group

The leaked copy of the Trans Pacific Partnership confirms the Fair Deal Coalition’s fears that New Zealand is facing aggressive moves from the US in the fight to protect New Zealand's economic future through maintaining a fair copyright framework, the Fair Deal Coalition says.

The coalition was formed in July last year. Its members include NZX-listed Trade Me, Internet NZ, Consumer NZ, and centre-right blogger David Farrar. It wants New Zealand to stay strong in areas like copyright and patents - areas where US interests are applying pressure; pressure some fear Trade Minister Tim Groser will yield to as he seeks to maintain or extend access for agricultural exporters.

Members see risks to New Zealand's progressive parallel importing and patent laws, and in specific industry areas - such as lobbying by US "big pharma" interests - that might restrict market access for New Zealand's low-cost generic drug maker Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

Fair Deal Coalition spokesperson Susan Chalmers says the text shows that the New Zealand negotiators have been fighting for a sensible position that would serve New Zealand well.

“Chief negotiator David Walker and his team are to be applauded for fighting for what is best for New Zealand’s sensible and balanced copyright framework. It is a shame the United States wants the opposite, but that is what the leaked text shows,” Ms Chalmers says.

“Negotiators are showing they understand New Zealand is a net importer of copyright goods and that our copyright law needs to suit our needs. If we accept what the US has put on the table then this country would be severely limiting future opportunities to innovate, remix, create and distribute content.

"In short, New Zealand would be trading away our digital future - all for potentially improved access to US markets, which could take years and years to happen.

“If the US gets what it wants, New Zealand will be facing higher copyright costs and reduced access to content both online and off.

“The long-term economic prospects New Zealanders can build with fair intellectual property law will be damaged if the TPP goes ahead with this Intellectual Property chapter in place,” Ms Chalmers says.

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