Inside US Trade
August 20, 2004

The U.S. and Colombia have reached an agreement that a private-sector consultant to the Colombia government on intellectual property issues will not be allowed to directly participate in the negotiations of the U.S.-Andean Free Trade Agreement, according to sources. The inclusion of the advisor led to an early end to IPR talks during the last round of talks in July between the U.S., Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Specifically, when the Colombia negotiators sought to include their advisor in the negotiations a day-and-a-half into the scheduled three-day IPR talks, the U.S. threatened to leave, according to sources. This led to the postponement of the remaining day-and-a-half of the IPR talks.

However, Colombia now has agreed that in the next round of talks, their IPR advisor will remain in the control room and will not be allowed to sit in on the negotiations, a source said. The remaining IPR discussions on patent protection will be revisited during the next round of negotiations in Puerto Rico on Sept. 13-17.

"We objected to having a private-sector consultant participate in government-to-government negotiations," a U.S. trade official said. "The IPR negotiations suspended their formal talks prior to his arrival and IPR will be part of the agenda for the Puerto Rico round."

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