Today we welcomed Professor Dongsheng Zang of University of Washington School of Law to NCTU Law for a talk. His topic was "Is there a future for TPP?" Prof. Zang's answer was negative. It was an excellent talk with controversial conclusion.
Prof. Zang observed on the difficulty of the deal between US and Japan. He asked first the question: what is preventing US JP deal in the TPP?
He choose IP as well as agricultral trade as two example demonstrating that the TPP deal is actually not making sense for countries involved, especially Japan.
Prof. Zang noted that higher standard of IP protection does not work for Japan as Japan is actually importing more on those items.
He also argued that it is self-contradictary for President Obama in moving against patent trolls with support from tech firms' support while promoting higher standards when it comes to dealing with foreign countries. In addition, so called "trouble makers" (such as India) are not those in the TPP. On future Of pharmaceutical trade: forcasted markets that matter in the future are not included in the TPP.
Back to Japan, Prof. Zang raised question for Abe. As President Obama wants TPP to increase US export with JP in mind.Take medical markets for example, Japan is US medical devices number one export market. It may make sense for US to raise patent protection.But JP? Deficit on medical equipment is increasing shows that there is no sense for Japan to raise IP protection.
Another example is alpgriculture trade.TPP does not help JP in curbing EU Subsidiaries as EU is not included in TPP. In addition, major export of JP agriculture not included in TPP- such as UK, Taiwan, China, Thailand. Furthermore, domestic oppostion in Japan also posted serious obstruction for the country to join TPP. Deficit data shows TPP does not worth the efforts for Japan.
Professor Zang asked: If it is not making sense for JP, does it make sense for other less developed countries?
He also noted that it is hard to see how Obama can push TPP politically.
Professor Zang concluded that TPP is out of dated concept of globalization and should be replaced by new thinking that deals with globalization together with the problem of climate change.
It was an inspiring talk, even though I may not agree with some of his conclusion. It was great for us to welcome Professor Zang in our campus.