Rep. Alan Grayson: I've Seen The Details And There Is No Reason To Keep TPP Secret
from the speak-up dept
Rep. Alan Grayson has apparently been allowed to see a copy of the latest text of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and he’s mystified about why it’s being negotiated in secret. As we’ve noted in the past, the USTR likes to claim how “transparent” they are because (1) they “listen” to whoever wants to talk and (2) they’ll show things to Congress. Neither of those things are “transparency.” Listening to people is great, but transparency is about information flowing in the other direction, from the government to the public. As for showing things to Congress, we’ve explained how that’s not really accurate. Elected officials in Congress can see the text, but they have to go to the USTR, where they can look at the document, but they’re not allowed to take notes, make copies or bring any staffers (such as experts on trade or any of the issues in the document) with them.
Grayson apparently took the USTR up on that offer, and he says there’s no reason that the text should be secret.
Because of this pressure, the USTR finally let a member of Congress – little ole me, Alan Grayson – actually see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a large, secret trade agreement that is being negotiated with many countries in East Asia and South America.
The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.” Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.
1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.
2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].
(Well, I did promise to tell you only two things about it.)
Of course, the USTR argues — ridiculously — that the reason they can’t share it is not because of “national security,” but basically some crap about how they’ve never negotiated in public and somehow no agreement could be reached if negotiations were made public. But that’s hogwash. Lots of other agreements, including ones on similar topics are negotiated with the various negotiating texts made public. And, considering these governments are all representing the public, the idea that they can’t represent their constituencies is ridiculous.
It’s good to see that more people are realizing just how problematic the nature of the TPP is today, and questioning why the documents are secret.