The eighth round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) took place during September 6-15 in Chicago, IL. Nine countries are participating in the regional trade agreement: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Intellectual property rights were a central issue during this round. The United States presented an extensive white paper on access to medicines, which most notably proposed a “TPP access window.” The access window requires pharmaceutical companies to market newly developed medicines in TPP countries within a certain “window” of time. In exchange, TPP countries must provide adequate intellectual property protections for those medicines.

Additionally, almost 60 stakeholder groups made individual presentations to the TPP delegates, including a number of manufacturing groups representing apparel and footwear interests. Many of these groups urged the adoption of a “yarn forward’ rule of origin for textiles, requiring all stages of production to occur in a TPP country in order to qualify for the duty preference. A few textile importing groups oppose this proposal and it is likely to be controversial.

TPP members hope to have the broad outlines of an agreement in place by the time Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation holds its annual Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii on November 12 and 13. However, two U.S. proposals that are likely to produce controversy--one on state-owned enterprises, the other on labor--have yet to be tabled. The next round of negotiations will be held in late October in Lima, Peru.