The latest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is taking place in San Diego this week. As I wrote in an earlier post, the proposed agreement is quite troubling in terms of both substance and process. The pact would affect policies on a wide range of subjects, including intellectual property rights, environmental protection, labor, professional licensing, government procurement, and regulations in the financial, healthcare, energy, telecommunications sectors. Yet the negotiations are taking place behind closed doors.
Javier Tapia, over at Regulación y Competencia has written another insightful post about the TDLC’s recent ruling in the Tecumseh case. As those of you keeping score at home already know, Tecumseh involved allegations of price-fixing between Whirlpool SA and Tecumseh Do Brasil Ltda, the major suppliers in the Chilean market for low power compressors used in the manufacture of refrigerators. The competition tribunal–known by its Spanish acronym as the TDLC–found that beginning in 2004, both companies began to participate in a global cartel, as well as a regional cartel that directly affected the Chilean market. The case was notable here in that it was the first instance in which a cartel participant (in this instance, Tecumseh) has taken advantage of the FNE’s recently-implemented leniency program and admitted its involvement in an unlawful conspiracy, and provided the competition authorities with information regarding the scheme, in exchange for a fine reduction. (Previously both Whirlpool and Tecumseh had confessed to other competition authorities–in the U.S., Canada, the European Union and New Zealand–to having colluded.) In this case, because Tecumseh was the first in line to approach the FNE and to provide the required assistance, it was eligible to receive a complete exemption from any fines under the leniency program guidelines.
Although I have been neglecting this blog for a while, I did just guest-write a piece (in Spanish more or less) at a far more interesting site, Regulación y Competencia, the blog of the Centro de Regulación y Competencia (Regcom) at the Facultad de Derecho of the Universidad de Chile. You can find the piece here. Be sure to check it out, and bookmark the Regcom blog, where you will find far more interesting commentary on a more consistent basis than you will ever get on this site.
I suspect many in the U.S. are unaware of the fact that we are currently in the process of negotiating what the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) characterizes as an “ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement” with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”). This past week, the parties engaged in an “intersessional” round of negotiations here in Santiago regarding the proposed intellectual property provisions. I attended a fascinating conference on Thursday at the Universidad Católica—which originally had been scheduled to take place at the Universidad de Chile, but was moved at the last minute. The panel participants generally confirmed my belief that the USTR has adopted the agendas of certain powerful interest groups—including big PhRMA—as the official U.S. position.
We have now been in Chile for over a month. We have our house, which is still largely unfurnished as we await the arrival of our stuff from the U.S.. We have our cat and dog (and soon will have a partial refund from Delta after the airline forgot to send the cat’s health certificate, resulting in quite the adventure at the airport cargo terminal). We have our cédulas. We have our sporty “new” car, a 2004 Kia Carnival, which we (or, more accurately, my wife) bought from the conveniently-large family whose house we are renting. The kids started the fall term at their new school. And I started my new job.
One thing we do not have yet–a Chilean bank account.
This press release by Chile’s Fiscalía Nacional Económica (national economic prosecutor’s office) caught my attention for some reason:
Con el objeto de seguir fortaleciendo a la FNE, el Fiscal Irarrázabal no ha cesado en la búsqueda de destacados abogados y economistas de la plaza para engrosar las filas del ente fiscalizador…. A la División de Investigaciones, se incorpora el abogado Michael Jacob[s], ex socio de Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP (Minnesota), con estudios en la Universidad de Chicago y Georgetown, y con experiencia laboral en la Oficina del Attorney General del Estado de Minnesota,…
Raven and Shadow, our dog and cat, arrived safely to their new home in Santiago today after a lengthy trip from Minneapolis, and thanks to a lot of generous help from friends back in the United States. The last few miles from Pudahuel to Las Condes, however, turned into quite the adventure, courtesy of everyone’s favorite monopolist in the Twin Cities, Delta Airlines.
I woke up this morning, had a cup of Nescafé (it’s not really accurate to call it coffee), got some cash from a nearby ATM and hailed a taxicab along Avenida Apoqindo. My driver’s name was Juan. Juan and I our way through the morning congestion along Avenida Kennedy and soon were making good time on our way to the airport.