On February 28, more than 20 organizations joined OpenTheGovernment.org is sending a letter to President Obama urging him to increase the transparency of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiating process. Despite the significant effect the pact may have on the way we live our lives by limiting our public protections, there has been no public access to even the most fundamental draft agreement texts and other documents.
The TPP FTA negotiations have been conducted in unprecedented secrecy. While the World Trade Organization posts negotiating texts on its website for review, and negotiating texts were also made available on the recently-completed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), such openness has not been adopted, to date, in the context of TPP FTA talks. Indeed, to the contrary, parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding 2010 imposing heightened secrecy for the process.
The issues now being negotiated extend significantly beyond traditional trade matters, such as tariffs, and include patent and copyright, land use, food and product standards, natural resources, professional licensing, government procurement, financial practices, healthcare, energy, telecommunications, and other service sector regulations, and more.