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Wed Jun 13, 2012, 01:13 PM

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Sherrod Brown Urges Transparency for “NAFTA for Asia” [View all]

Some Senate Democrats and even some Republicans are concerned about a controversial trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which critics have denounced as “NAFTA for Asia.” And they are making their opinions known to the Obama Administration about the relative secrecy under which the deal is being negotiated.

As first reported by Zach Carter of the Huffington Post, Sen. Ron Wyden, the chair of a key Senate subcommittee on international trade, was denied access by the Office of US Trade Representative to any of the draft documents of the TPP. Eventually, after introducing legislation to try and force openness on the process, Wyden did gain access, but his staff did not, including those with key insight on trade policy.

That’s better than nothing, Wyden spokeswoman Jennifer Hoelzer told HuffPost, but not helpful from a practical standpoint, given that congressional staff perform much of the legislative work on Capitol Hill.

“I would point out how insulting it is for them to argue that members of Congress are to personally go over to USTR to view the trade documents,” Hoelzer said. “An advisor at Halliburton or the MPAA is given a password that allows him or her to go on the USTR website and view the TPP agreement anytime he or she wants.”

The general public and most nonprofit organizations have no access to the documents, although a number of corporate officials can see them.

Now a letter is being circulated on the Hill, though language has not been finalized, demanding that USTR chief Ron Kirk provide more transparency to the process and allow Congress to oversee their work on TPP. The letter will call on Kirk to immediately post summaries of all the proposals for TPP on the USTR website. This is only the latest action for additional transparency, the boldest of which was Darrell Issa leaking the entire intellectual property chapter on his website.

I spoke with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a longtime opponent of NAFTA-style trade deals who is organizing the effort to open up TPP, at the Netroots Nation conference in Providence, RI. He expressed concern about two major areas of the trade pact being negotiated between the US and a series of Asian and Pacific nations. First, he highlighted the investor-state relations element of recent trade deals, where companies are given the capacity to override existing public health and safety standards inside other countries by virtue of the trade agreement.


This trade deal is bullshit. It's all for the corporations and it is going to hurt the working American people and also the working people in the other countries involved.

That's why they want to keep it a secret.

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Reply Trans-Pacific Partnership: Sherrod Brown Urges Transparency for “NAFTA for Asia” [View all]
limpyhobbler Jun 2012 OP
msongs Jun 2012 #1
limpyhobbler Jun 2012 #3
AnotherMcIntosh Jun 2012 #2
Gold Metal Flake Jun 2012 #4
bajamary Jun 2012 #5