How Not To Build A 21st Century Trade Agreement: In Secret
from the government-failures dept
The USTR continues to pitch the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as a “21st Century” trade agreement. However, as the folks at EFF point out, the defining aspect of the 21st century is the fact that the internet has enabled unrivaled transparency. A trade agreement created in secret — though with special access for special interests — is not a 21st-century agreement at all. It’s the opposite. It’s a last-century viewpoint on how the world works.
We’re still not convinced it’s an agreement adequate for 21st century society–especially in an environment where the public, Congress, and civil rights organizations are denied access to the treaty’s official text, while corporate representatives have full access to it. In a world where you can access the complete state code of Utah in Github to engage citizens in legislative drafting, secrecy and backroom deals are not exactly a 21st century way to build the 21st century society.
It’s still never been adequately explained why the USTR feels the need for such secrecy and backroom deals. At best, the answer has been “this is how we always negotiate trade agreements.” That’s not an answer, that’s an excuse. If the USTR is serious about building a trade agreement for the 21st century, it would recognize that it needs to be open and transparent.