Free Trade Agreements With The United States: 8 Lessons For Prospective Parties From Australia's Experience

Stephen R. Tully
2016 British Journal of American Legal Studies  
This article identifies 8 key lessons for those States contemplating a free trade agreement with the United States (U.S.) arising from Australia's experience. The standards of intellectual property protection under the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and their impact on pharmaceutical prices in Australia are a particular focus. Prospective parties must first conduct a national interest self-assessment which reviews the desired strength of intellectual property protection under national law
more » ... nd their preference for using flexibilities available to them under the existing international intellectual property rights framework. The United States negotiates free trade agreements in light of previous ones, negotiating outcomes obtained in other fora and the decisions of international trade tribunals. Negotiations typically occur behind closed doors, which is a process having adverse implications for transparent decision-making, public consultation periods and contributions from interested non-governmental actors. A concluded agreement will build on prior treaties and influence the course of future international arrangements. But the impact of a United States free trade agreement is not always clear, including because of a lack of reliable data, and the extent of national legal change is a contested issue given existing reform agendas and external influences. The United States seek to redesign national health care systems in its own image and had little success in Australia's case. National legal systems need not be harmonised: although there can be some convergence in intellectual property rights regimes, significant differences may also remain. Negotiators must reconcile competing cultures, philosophies and perspectives between States for a free trade agreement to be worthwhile.
doi:10.1515/bjals-2016-0014 fatcat:yo5g4jof75hqhlalgtgi3rbg5e