US Trade Rep Promises Transparency… But Actions Speak Louder Than Websites
from the I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it dept
The US Trade Representative has finally finished the long overdue task of relaunching its website. Among such spiffy new features as a blog and an interactive map, the USTR has promised to fulfill Obama’s pledge "to advance the social accountability and political transparency of trade policy." And while these are nice and all, the promise rings somewhat hollow.
Even though Obama’s nominee, Ron Kirk, had just begun his term as the new US Trade Representative, the 2009 Special 301 that was released in April continued the ridiculous fallacies of years past. Even worse, for an organization pledging transparency, the process of researching and writing the Special 301 reports is notoriously secretive, blocking out NGOs, consumer groups and citizens. Instead, IP maximalist industry groups collaborate with USTR bureaucrats to write draconian US government reports that serve to alienate nations and harm innovation around the world. If Ambassodor Kirk and Obama want a USTR that does advance social accountability and political transparency, it would do well to be open in substance, not style. Perhaps a good place to let them know would be their new "Ask the Ambassador" feature.