Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sen. Warren goes to bat for democracy on the TPP

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) may be picking her battles in her first term, but she's seized on a good one--the abysmal lack of transparency surrounding the Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations.

In a letter sent today to Michael Froman, Assistant to the President, she asks whether the White House will make the bracketed text of the TPP public (the bracketed text would include not only proposed agreement language from the US, but also proposed language from other negotiating countries) or a scrubbed bracketed version, as the Bush administration did in Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiating.

Warren generally complimented the Obama administration on its openness but said that TPP negotiations are an exception to transparency and inclusion.

Warren's letter notes that she has "heard the argument that transparency would undermine the Administration's policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant. This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States. I believe in transparency and democracy, and I think the US Trade Representative (USTR) should too."

You can read about the letter here, with a link to the original text at the end.

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