A report is saying that negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is likely to conclude by October of 2013. While the report seems confident that there’s a high probability of the talks concluding then, we know from experiences that such predictions are so frequently wrong thanks to delays, divisions, and/or who knows what else that’s going on behind closed doors.
The TPP has been something we’ve covered extensively here at ZeroPaid. We even went so far as doing an independent full analysis of the US proposed copyright chapter to re-confirm that SOPA-like provisions as well as a three strikes law are but a few of the provisions being proposed in the agreement. We also went so far as to cover the leaking of the investment chapter even though something like that is not something that is normally covered here on ZeroPaid. By most observers accounts, the TPP has the potential to be the single biggest credible threat to Internet freedom (as opposed to the fake threat of the ITU). Unfortunately, about the only thing activists can do at this point is raise awareness for the agreement and explain what is wrong with it as all opposing views have been cut off from the negotiations.
Still, it’s not a hopeless cause. There were signals earlier this week that negotiators were trying to add fair use provisions into the agreement after the overwhelming defeat of ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) in Europe last week. Of course, as we pointed out, fair use provisions might not be enough to mask the controversial proposed provisions.
Whatever the outcome is, one outlet is reporting that the TPP negotiations are likely to conclude by October of 2013:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations are expected to conclude in October next year, almost a year behind the initial deadline of end-2012, an academician said today.
Of course, it’s very difficult to find a day when something like this concludes. As we’ve observed numerous times over, big trade agreements often face delays and internal divisions. Negotiators have often announced a date when negotiations are expected to end only to find themselves scheduling new rounds of negotiations well after the suggested conclusion date. I’m willing to bet that, even for people working on the inside, predicting something like this – even when negotiations are seemingly close to concluding – is extremely difficult let alone for people observing from the outside. In fact, we’ve even seen delays thanks to deep divisions between different interests in the TPP last week. I’m willing to bet that when things get really testy on the inside and both sides refuse to back down, that has the potential to cause huge delays.
So, I think that while it is interesting that there are some dates for when TPP negotiations are going to conclude, it’s hard to treat them with more than a grain of salt – especially when these dates are so far off.