Crony Capitalism: Big Companies Sponsor Fancy Dinner For TPP Negotiators

from the not-cool dept

We've talked about the ridiculous Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations, which are being held with incredible levels of secrecy, and which appear to include a wishlist of every copyright reform change that Hollywood wants, with little to no public scrutiny. The USTR, who's in charge of negotiating the agreement for the US claims that there's unprecedented transparency -- and that may be true if you're talking about the unprecedented lack of transparency in the negotiations. And where it gets really ridiculous is that while the public has no access to the information, the big company lobbyists have pretty much full access. We already spoke about the recent meetings in Hollywood, where TPP negotiators got to party with the Hollywood elite -- but civil society/public interest groups who tried to hold an open meeting in the hotel (and reserved space and everything) were kicked out of the hotel.

The latest is the news that tonight (as we post this), a bunch of big companies who employ some of the key lobbyists supporting the extreme nature of TPP... are hosting a fancy, expensive dinner in Washington DC. The dinner is sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce, Philip Morris, Chevron, PhRMA, Microsoft, Pfizer, Amgen, Dow Chemical, among others... and the ambassadors from the TPP countries will all be in attendance (though we've heard, but don't have confirmation, that Australia just pulled out after realizing how bad this looked).

The next round of TPP negotiations take place next week in Australia, so it's nice that the corporate interests pushing an extreme version of the agreement get to wine and dine all of the key negotiators at an expensive and closed off dinner in DC, huh? Public interest groups? They just found out about the dinner today and (as you might expect) really aren't welcome.

What's amazing to me is how incredibly tone deaf the USTR and the US government is to how this appears. The USTR is negotiating a massive agreement that will change IP laws in pretty significant ways which clearly could favor some of these large companies. And just days before they're set to negotiate... they're letting some of the biggest special interests supporting an extreme vision for TPP buy them a fancy dinner? Even if you can believe that they're not actually influenced by this, do they not realize just how bad this looks?

Filed Under: copyright, crony capitalism, dc, dinners, sponsorship, tpp, trademark, ustr
Companies: amgen, chevron, dow chemical, microsoft, pfizer, philip morris, prma, us chamber of commerce

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  1. icon
    MahaliaShere (profile), 24 Feb 2012 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Leaks

    Let's also have a few Occupiers show up as waiters...

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