from the do-they-know-what-they're-doing? dept
For example, recently Techdirt reported on the pharmaceutical price-fixing scheme contained in a leaked version of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. The way it is framed there would seem to imply that the Federal Medicaid program's preferred drug lists would be forbidden. Whoops.
And here's a troubling clause found in the bilateral trade agreements recently signed with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea:
Another section (PDF) of the trade deal seems to recognize only a limited right by Americans to create and use computer programs of their choice.Hortatory it may be, but it's there. Who's to say that the US government won't one day use the treaty as an excuse to make it happen?
It says: "Each party recognizes that consumers in its territory should be able to...run applications and services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement."
A U.S. trade official, who did not want to be named, told CNET that the language is "hortatory" and therefore not binding--in other words, it's a recognition, not a commitment to actually do anything.
The problem is that none of these back-room treaties has had the benefit of detailed scrutiny by outside experts while they were being drawn up; as a result, they may well contain clauses with unintended consequences further down the road. That's yet another reason for much more transparency during negotiations - or for avoiding them altogether.
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