by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
michael froman, transparency, ustr

What Little Transparency The US Trade Rep Used To Have Is Going Away

from the that's-not-transparency dept

When Michael Froman was first nominated as the US Trade Rep, we hoped he would commit to being more transparent than his predecessors. While that seemed unlikely given his history as a political crony revolving in and out of government and business, the issue was raised directly during his Senate approval process. Unfortunately, like his predecessors, Froman appears to confuse transparency with listening. The two are not the same. Transparency is about sharing what you're doing. Listening is about hearing what others have to say. You can listen while being totally opaque -- and it appears that this is the USTR's strategy.

IP Watch notes that the USTR released its list of weekly press events... in which every one of them is closed to the press.
This could just be a coincidence, having to do with the type of meetings the USTR is having, but it's still indicative of the way the USTR operates. But a much bigger concern is that Jamie Love, from KEI, reveals that the USTR has now changed its policy on sharing texts of WTO TRIPS council interventions with outside organizations, such as civil society and public interest groups. That is basically spitting on transparency, with the new USTR basically making it clear that it doesn't want the actual feedback from the groups most closely following these stories from the public interest side of things.

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