Stephen Kho, Brian Pomper Discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership

For its February issue, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel interviewed Akin Gump international trade partner Stephen Kho and public law and policy partner Brian Pomper on the their careers and work, focusing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement among nations of the Asia-Pacific region.

The pair noted the original signatories—New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore and Chile—to the TPP’s predecessor, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, and prospective signatories to the new agreement, including South Korea, Taiwan and The Philippines.  They then focused on areas of trade under discussion for the TPP.

Regarding the intellectual property component of the agreement, Kho outlined areas where the United States would seek better IP protection: “Some of these issues include data exclusivity, patent term extension, patent linkages and, as we’ve mentioned, Internet service providers—how to deal with them in terms of potential copyright violations.”

Pomper noted other significant areas of interest to the United States: “Textiles remain pretty controversial.  Vietnam…has a primary interest in increased textile apparel market activity in the United States.  Agriculture is a very controversial issue: in particular, Australia’s desire to have increased access to the U.S. sugar market and New Zealand’s desire to have increased access to the U.S. dairy market. Equally controversial is the U.S.’s desire to increase its market access to Japan’s agricultural market, which historically has been closed, along with market access with respect to automobiles and automobile parts in Japan.”

The interview also covered fast-track approval, the benefits of the TPP and the agreement’s provisions regarding disputes between investors and sovereign states.

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