As the opaque proceedings surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) continue, a group of 32 law professors from current and potential future negotiating countries have written a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk condemning the lack of transparency. The letter comes as a new round of negotiations begins in Dallas, where the USTR has canceled full-day stakeholder presentations. Given that there has been no publicly released version of the text, the lack of a meaningful stakeholder forum means that the only private individuals not shut out of the agreement are the members of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on IP, which is "dominated by brand name pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Hollywood entertainment industry."
As the law professors explain, this trajectory towards an even more extreme lack of transparency is the wrong course.
Now is (indeed, yesterday was) the time to ramp up participation mechanisms that might bolster the agreement’s legitimacy and fairness, not dial them back – if the goal is to create balanced law that stands the test of modern democratic theories and practices of public transparency, accountability and input. Please restore the stakeholder sessions and release negotiating texts now.
EFF joins these professors in calling on the USTR and the administration to reverse course on using "trade" agreements in an attempt to undemocratically tie the hands of Congress to determine the legislation that works best for the American people. Public policy requires public input.