Secret Trans Pacific Partnership trade talks threaten the environment
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Sunday, December 7 in Washington, D.C., the United States and other Pacific Rim countries open a week-long negotiating round for the Trans Pacific Partnership, a sweeping trade deal that has been plagued by delays for over a year. Although next week’s talks may be the last held in the United States, they are branded as “informal” in order to lower public expectations for progress, and to preclude engagement with civil society groups who have expressed concerns about the deal.
The TPP deal negotiations continue behind closed doors with the assistance of almost 600 corporate representatives — all officially cleared advisers to the U.S. Trade Representative. The negotiating text of the TPP is a state secret, but portions have been released on Wikileaks.
Michele Chan, Director of economic policy at Friends of the Earth, made the following statement:
The Trans Pacific Partnership trade talks are being held under the cloak of secrecy in order to avoid public scrutiny. Americans, both Democrat and Republican, would be shocked to learn that the TPP undermines our democracy; it allows corporations to access special courts to sue governments for millions or billions in money damages if environmental or health regulations interfere with their profits. The Administration should end the secrecy, and let the public know what’s being traded away, rather than restricting access to big corporations. Congress must also refuse to grant Fast Track negotiating authority that would allow the TPP to steamroll through Congress without proper oversight.