US Demands Transparency Everywhere -- But Only From Everyone Else
from the do-as-I-say,-not-as-I-do dept
Techdirt has written about the Special 301 report many times, but that's not the only US government publication putting other countries on the naughty step. Another is the less well-known National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (pdf):
The 2013 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE) is the 28th in an annual series that surveys significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports. This document is a companion piece to the President's Trade Policy Agenda published in March. The issuance of the NTE Report continues the elaboration of an enforcement strategy, utilizing this report, among other tools, in that strategy.
The report offers detailed discussions of the habits of 57 countries, but they all share a rather significant theme: transparency -- or, rather, the lack of it. It really seems the US just can't get enough of it. Here, for example, is a sample of the report's comments from the section on the European Union:
The U.S. pharmaceutical industry has expressed concerns regarding some EU and Member State policies affecting market access for pharmaceutical products, including nontransparent procedures and a lack of meaningful stakeholder input into policies related to pricing and reimbursement, including therapeutic reference pricing and other price controls.
Lack of transparency is also an issue for uranium, it seems:
The United States is concerned that nontransparent EU policies may restrict the import into the EU of enriched uranium, the material from which nuclear power reactor fuel is fabricated.
Public procurement is another area where transparency is cited as a big problem: countries singled out for a mention here include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania and Slovenia.
Reading through the rest of the 400-page report, it's truly extraordinary to see transparency mentioned dozens of times as one of the US's key concerns with other countries around the world. Of course, that's deeply ironic, since the US was not only the lone holdout against ACTA transparency, and responsible for reducing what little transparency was present in the TPP negotiations, but it even refused to be transparent about its own positions on transparency. Hypocritical much?