Out ACTA-ing ACTA: All TPP Negotiating Documents To Be Kept Secret Until Four Years After Ratification
from the it's-a-secret-it's-a-secret dept
For example, like ACTA, TPP is being negotiated in secret. But that, apparently, is not enough: a memorandum has been signed that stipulates only the final treaty will be revealed at the conclusion of the negotiations:
The parties have apparently agreed that all documents except the final text will be kept secret for four years after the agreement comes into force or the negotiations collapse. This reverses the trend in many recent negotiations to release draft texts and related documents. The existence of agreement was only discovered through a cover note to the leaked text of the intellectual property chapter.Not only that, but it seems that even the memorandum about secrecy is going to remain secret:
An open letter to Prime Minister John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser from unions, civil liberties, church, public health, development, environmental and trade justice groups has demanded the release of the secrecy document. The Green Party and Mana Movement have both endorsed the call.In fact, if the ACTA negotiations are anything to go by, they certainly won't, because the US won't let them – it blocked attempts by other negotiating parties to release ACTA drafts.
The release of the secrecy memorandum was requested during the Chicago round of negotiations in early October. New Zealand lead negotiator Mark Sinclair has asked for responses from the other countries, but there is no guarantee they will agree.
It's not hard to see why the US wants to keep its dirty laundry private. Like the recently-signed bilateral trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, these treaties are incredibly one-sided, essentially giving the US media companies everything they are demanding in an attempt to prop up their dying business models through disproportionate copyright enforcement legislation around the world. The drafts would presumably make that much clearer.
Of course, that these US industries should seek such advantageous terms is only natural. What's not so clear is why other countries continue to acquiesce, when the treaties are plainly bad for both their citizens and their own creative industries (although various Wikileaks cables give us a hint). A good first step in re-asserting their sovereignty would be to insist on real transparency as a pre-condition for trade negotiations with the US – and no more secret memoranda about secrecy.
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