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26 Nov, 2013

US accused of war of attrition in trade talks – Sydney Morning Herald

The United States has been accused of negotiation by exhaustion in last-minute talks in Salt Lake City ahead of the final ministers’ meeting that will decide the makeup of the Trans Pacific trade deal between Australia and eleven other nations.

Information leaking from the closed official-level talks suggests the United States is giving no ground on questions of intellectual property and medicines and is insisting each nation sign up to so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions that would allow global corporations to sue sovereign governments.

The Labor government vowed not to sign any future agreements with such clauses, although the Coalition has said it will consider them on a case-by-case basis.

One of the few trade agreements Australia has signed with an investor state dispute settlement clause has allowed a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of the tobacco giant Philip Morris to take Australia to an international tribunal over its plain packaging laws, despite having lost its case in the Australian High Court.

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