Jun 292012

On Wednesday, Congressman Darrell Issa wrote a letter to USTR requesting access to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations: “Given the immense impact that this agreement will have on many areas of the American economy, including intellectual property, I respectfully request that you allow me and certain members of my staff to be present as observers for this round of negotiations.” Issa has raised concerns about the intellectual property provision of the bill in the past, and has posted the leaked U.S. proposal on his website keepthewebopen.com

Reuters reports that Assistant USTR for Congressional Affairs Mac Campbell has responded, denying Issa access to the negotiations. “Only negotiators from each country are present for negotiation sessions,” he said.  Campbell offered Issa and his staff stakeholder badges that allow access to the “public portions of the event,”  but the actual negotiations will remain secret.

This puts Issa in a similar position as negotiators from Canada and Mexico.  After the two countries agreed to join the negotiations – following a 90 day period for consultations between the U.S. executive and Congress – a spokeswoman from USTR told Inside U.S. Trade that they would not be able to join the negotiations as observers: “There are no observers permitted in the TPP negotiations, nor can they participate in any way during the 90-day period.”

Earlier this week, 131 Members of Congress sent a letter to USTR asking for greater transparency for both Congress and the public at large.  The letter asks USTR to “provide us and the public with summaries of the proposals offered by the U.S. government, so we have a clearer idea of what positions are being advanced on behalf of the U.S. citizenry.  Full U.S. proposal texts should be made available not only to Members of Congress, but also to their staffs.”

In March, Senator Wyden introduced legislation that would require USTR to post on its website within 30 days every document tabled in previous negotiations that describes “a position of, or proposal made by, the United States with respect to intellectual property, the Internet, or entities that use the Internet, including electronic commerce.”  Going forward, USTR would be required to post these documents online within 24 hours of their being shared with negotiating partners.  Also in March, Sen. Wyden pressed Trade Representative Ron Kirk on TPP transparency at a Senate committee meeting, see transcript and video.)




  3 Responses to “Issa, Canada, and Mexico All Denied TPP Observer Status; Congress Continues to Seek Greater Transparency”

  1. Transparency is called for. But sending a political hack like Issa would be a tragic mistake. His past shady criminal enterprises and his recent congressional antics, preclude him from any participation in these dealings.

    We are already being sold down the river. NAFTA was a mistake of gigantic proportions. Our nation suffers today from the job losses caused by that fiasco. We don’t need a Quisling putting the interests of multinational corporations and his own interests above our national interests.

    The greed of multinational corporations has engaged us in an unwilling, “race to the bottom”. Enough is enough.

  2. What are the chances that we are going to see massive anti-TPP demonstrations on the North American streets? It’d say they are slim to none.

    These guys, especially the USTR, know all this very well. That’s why they do this: they know they get away with it.

    Empirical evidence: just ask some random person (lady on the bus, guy at the tennis club, cleaning guy at work, your spouse) if they know what “TPP” is; if it stays quiet for a few seconds offer “Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement”. Chances are they won’t even know what it is. Oh… but did you hear Adele is pregnant with her first child? The baby is going to be soooooooo adorable!

  3. A few hundred years ago, the people of this land started a war of independence based on the principles of self government and freedom of the people. Recall the words, “No taxation without representation.”
    Here the USTR is negotiating in secret agreements that other countries would be required to obey, yet their citizens have no place in negotiating the agreements. I call foul!