The TPP agreement was reached on October 5, 2015, and the full text of it was released on November 5, 2015. But it hasn’t become law yet in the U.S., and may not for some time. What are the various requirements needed before the TPP can be finalized as law?
To begin with, President Obama has to formally notify Congress of an intent to sign the agreement. President Obama issued his intent to sign to Congress on November 5, 2015.
Upon notification by the Obama administration of an intent to sign the agreement, a 90-day period for Congressional review begins. For at least the first 30 days, Congress will privately review the agreement and consult with the administration. During this 90-day period, the TPP agreement must also be opened to the public for comments for 60 days.
Afterwards, the President can go back to the other nations that have agreed to the TPP with input from Congress, which may or may not warrant modifications to the deal to improve its chances of ratification. Once the language is finalized and President Obama signs the deal, various executive and Congressional entities will then prepare it for submission to Congress. For example, the administration has a maximum of 60 days to prepare a list of all U.S. laws that need to be changed because of the TPP agreement, the U.S. International Trade Commission has up to 105 days to conduct a full economic review of the deal, and various congressional trade committees will perform mock markups of the implementing legislation. Only then will the final TPP implementing legislation be introduced to the House and Senate.
Once the implementing bill is introduced in the House and the Senate, Congress has a maximum of 90 days (60 days for the House, and 30 days for the Senate) to approve or disapprove the trade deal.
Although it is difficult to guess the timing of Congressional passage, the TPP could pass as early as Spring 2016.
For further information about the TPP, please see Donna Young’s article in Scrip Intelligence, TPP’s Details On Patent Linkage, Reimbursement Revealed, (subscription required), in which Goodwin Procter partner Bill James discusses the various impacts of the TPP on patents, specifically as it relates to the pharmaceutical industry.
Stay tuned to the Big Molecule Watch for further developments on the TPP.