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Debate Over Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trade Promotion Authority Continues In U.S. Senate, Japan

Bloomberg: Food Fear Lands Japan in Court Over U.S. Trade Deal Talks
“A former Japanese agriculture minister is suing the government over a U.S.-led Pacific trade agreement supported by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, claiming it threatens Japan’s food security and farm industry. Masahiko Yamada, 73, a lawyer and minister in 2010 in the then Democratic Party of Japan government, filed the lawsuit at Tokyo District Court on Friday on behalf of more than 1,000 plaintiffs, seeking to prevent Japan from joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he said by phone…” (Takada, 5/15).

CQ News: Trade Deal Seen as Route to Delay Generic Drug Competition
“Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade talks that stumbled in the Senate Tuesday, see congressional resistance to fast-track trade authority as helping their bid to prevent a deal on pharmaceuticals that would raise the cost of advanced medicines. According to the critics, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would give makers of expensive and innovative medicines known as biologics 12 years of exclusivity to sell the drugs. The critics say the 12-year provision would even prevent the United States from shortening exclusivity, a change the Obama administration has proposed…” (Young, 5/14).

New York Times: Senate, in Reversal, Begins Debate on Trade Authority
“Two days after Democratic senators blocked it, the Senate voted on Thursday to take up legislation that would grant the president negotiating freedom to complete an expansive trade accord with 11 nations on the Pacific Rim, setting off a contentious congressional debate on one of President Obama’s top priorities for his remaining time in office…” (Weisman, 5/14).

Wall Street Journal: Fast-Track Trade Bill Clears Key Senate Hurdle
“…The vote to open debate on a bill to grant Mr. Obama wider trade negotiating authority, passed 65-33, signals eventual Senate approval of the measure. It also triggers a fight in the House that will touch nearly every industry, from auto factories and steel companies to shoe manufacturers and drug companies…” (Hughes, 5/14).

Washington Post: Obama’s trade plan gets second wind but still faces fight from Democrats
“…[T]he bulk of the Senate debate is expected next week, following the afternoon procedural vote on proceeding with the fast-track bill, also known as ‘Trade Promotion Authority,’ or TPA. By passing the bill, Congress would relinquish its ability to amend trade deals negotiated by the executive branch, leaving them subject to a simple up-or-down vote. The 12-nation ­Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is the most ambitious deal likely to come up for consideration…” (DeBonis, 5/14).

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