USTR Tells Public Interest Groups They Have 8 Minutes To Talk To TPP Negotiators

from the transparency? dept

We’ve noted for quite some time that the USTR’s idea of “transparency” is laughable. They pretend that letting a few critics speak briefly is “transparency.” It’s not. Transparency is revealing what you’re proposing on behalf of the public. And, even the “hearing from critics” part is increasingly laughable. We recently noted that the USTR had already limited the “direct stakeholder engagement period” to just three hours, which is much shorter than usual. Now, word comes from the EFF that it’s become even worse, as the USTR has sent them an email saying that their allotted 15 minute presentation time has been cut down to just 8 minutes, and they’re splitting up the presentations into four different rooms — so most negotiators won’t even be around to hear any individual presentation anyway. Here’s the EFF’s concerns:

We just received an email from the USTR indicating that they are going to cut down the already inadequate 15-minute time allotment for our stakeholder presentation, to a mere eight minutes. In addition, they will all be held in four separate rooms. So not only will the presenters have barely any time to discuss their specific concerns with the agreement, it will literally be impossible for negotiators to attend all the presentations they would be interested in hearing since they will all be held simultaneously in different locations. Moreover, this entire round of negotiations will last 10 full days, and so it seems especially odd that they would need to cut down time for public participation this drastically.

And here’s the email from the USTR:

Good evening,

You are confirmed for a stakeholder presentation slot on Sunday, September 9th during TPP Round 14 Direct Stakeholder Engagement Forum.

Due to space constraints and an overwhelming showing of interest, we will have to limit presentation time to 8 minutes. Each presentation room will have a laptop, projector, and screen. If you would like to give a PowerPoint presentation, all you need to do is bring your presentation with you on a flash drive. No need to send to me ahead of time.
Please plan ahead so that your presentation fills the allotted time. We will have to stop you at the 8 minute mark in order to give every presenter an equal opportunity to make their presentation.

A schedule of presentations will be provided for you at the round. All presentations will be scheduled within the 11:00 am- 2:00 pm block, and take place in Potomac rooms A, B, C or D.

Thank you, again, for your participation. We value your input, and look forward to an on-going conversation regarding TPP.

Very best,


This isn’t transparency. This is transparency theater, so that Ron Kirk can tell people he’s being transparent, when he’s being anything but.

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Comments on “USTR Tells Public Interest Groups They Have 8 Minutes To Talk To TPP Negotiators”

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Shmerl says:

This is transparency theater, so that Ron Kirk can tell people he’s being transparent, when he’s being anything but.

Well if it’s more like a circus really. If it’s some kind of PR for Ron Kirk – it’s a complete failure, since it shows that USTR are clowns. Really one can see that USTR doesn’t care about any PR, since they simple don’t care about people and their opinions. They care however that their various “stakeholders” don’t deviate from the master plan, and for that, they turn any kind of public input into a joke.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why defend USTR?

I don’t think it is a question of sinister intentions. I think it is exactly what is said in the mail: They are surprised by the amount of stakeholder-interest in TPP.

Of course my interpretation would mean that the USTR is incompetent rather than corrupt and in that context corrupt is a less grave condemnation. I think that Ron Kirk actually believe that they are being very transparent since so many have had access to the negotiators. For a person getting an unprecedented amount of feedback on how certain people feel about the issues he is discussing it would seem like an extreme amount of transparency.
It is easy for mr. Kirk to think that the feedback he recieves is balanced and represents true transparency if he lives as secluded from reality as certain politicians.

In reality it is probably a question of extremely shady rules in the process of accepting stakeholders screwing over anyone without a direct economic interest in protecting their income and therefore IPR. It might be a good idea to tell him gently so he doesn’t crash completely from meeting reality.

DogBreath says:

I would stand there for 8 minutes and say nothing (in protest). If any of the TPP Negotiators tried to speak, I would say, “SHUT UP! This is MY 8 minutes. You are in the business of taking everything else away, and I’ll be damned if I let you take these last 8 minutes from me too!”.

I would PAY to see the video of that meeting.

SujaOfJauhnral (profile) says:

Response to: Shmerl on Aug 30th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

That depends what kind of clown and what kind of bear we’re talking here. I personally see industry shills like clowns, goodness know they clown around on here all the time. Maybe they might think pirates are bears trying to maul them. Bam. Internet rights lost cause one of the clowns got mauled by a bear on a tricycle.

gorehound (profile) says:

These guys are A-Holes Supreme ! Fuck You Ron Kirk and Fuck You USTR.Take your Toilet Paper Pact and ram it up your Buttholes.Not even the Senate truly knows what these jokers are doing.I really am getting more and more of a hate for this Government.Both Parties are so Corrupted.Either way you would be seeing Draconian Secret Treaties meant to enforce their will and their money and their BS.
Boycott The MAFIAA ! Stop giving these A-Holes Money.
Buy INDIE Art Only !
Make sure to tell your Fans & Friends the issues like TPP.Spread the word to all you know.
There is no Transparency unless We Make It Transparent.

Anonymous Coward says:


You answered your first question wrong. IP proponents get draft copies of the science damn agreement. It’s positively ludicrous that you’d suggest they’re on equal footing just because they’re limited to the same presentation time during this forum when it’s the only one public interest groups get while IP proponents get other avenues to advance their interests.

Maybe you should go fuck yourself if you think for even one second we’re falling for this farce.

Violated (profile) says:

Talking to The Brick Wall

Then if the do the same as with ACTA then shortly before this event happens they will move the event forwards by one week where so many people won’t be able to rebook their flights and hotel rooms.

Well if they are there for 10 days then presentations from 8am to 8pm would result in 825 presentations at 8 minutes each including one hour off for lunch.

More likely the public time is one day, the hours are shorter meaning under 82 presentations, then for the other 9 days those TPP people will get a luxury stay including hookers and blackjack.

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