Pirate Party Australia sent an email to DFAT in June to ascertain what provisions will be included in the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement. Today, two months later, we received a response.
It states that AJFTA will include an intellectual property chapter, and as per usual, have decided to keep all negotiations completely secret.
I was wondering if you could tell me whether or not the Australia-Japan FTA contains an Intellectual Property chapter, and if it does:
1) What is the economic justification for the inclusion of an IP chapter in another bilateral trade agreement?
2) Who has been consulted regarding the inclusion of this section in this FTA?
3) What are the headings of the topics included in the IP section of this FTA?
We would also always appreciate being able to see the text before it is signed.
I look forward to your correspondence.
Pirate Party Australia
Dear Mr Molloy
Thank you for your query regarding the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations (AJFTA Negotiations). We apologise for the delay in responding to your email.
The AJFTA Negotiations commenced in 2007 following the release of the 2006 Final Report of the Joint Study for Enhancing Economic Relations between Japan and Australia, including the Feasibility or Pros and Cons of a Free Trade Agreement (Joint Study). The Joint Study was overseen by the Joint Consultative Committee co-chaired by Australia and Japan and included a wide range of study group participants from both countries’ relevant Departments and agencies. The Joint Study concluded there would be significant benefits for both countries in including intellectual property commitments in an EPA/FTA. It also stated an EPA/FTA should be “comprehensive” with negotiations covering a wide range of areas including intellectual property.
Negotiations with Japan on the Intellectual Property chapter of the AJFTA are ongoing. Australia and Japan have agreed to keep the negotiating text confidential.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) continues to consult widely with relevant departments and agencies and welcomes submissions from individuals and groups on issues relevant to the negotiations. The Department also publishes brief updates on the negotiations on its website.
Japan FTA Task Force
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R G Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221