Experts: Leaked copy of secret trade treaty exposes corporate ‘cronyism’
Wikileaks originally published a leaked chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty (TPP) on Wednesday, the first draft of any kind made publicly available since the United States joined negotiations in 2009.
Described by the U.S. Trade Representative as “an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. economic priorities and values,” the TPP includes 12 nations on both sides of the Pacific and has been shrouded in secrecy since talks began five years ago.
“Conservatives should support free trade,” he added, “but this treaty is being manipulated by special interests to serve their own ends.”
Although the chapter — dated August 2013 — is still in draft form, the document does appear to contain giveaways for large pharmaceutical and media corporations. The rules proposed by American negotiators would drastically curtail the ability of individuals in any signatory nation — including the United States — to tamper with existing pharmaceutical formulas or modify music, videos and other creative content.
Corporations producing intellectual property argue that any modification without their consent is theft. But critics across the political spectrum argue that strict
“The fact that
Many of the intellectual property laws enshrined in the TPP are similar to those proposed by the ill-fated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which crashed and burned in early 2012 after public outcry.
“This has long been the preferred strategy of the content industry,” said Khana. “When they are unable to accomplish their goals in the courts or by lobbying Congress then they lobby for an international treaty. Then they go back to Congress and make them pass a new law to implement the treaty.”
The Obama administration is hoping to sign the treaty by the end of the year, and several senators want to “fast-track” the document through legislative review. “If [the TPP] is given fast-track authority,” Khanna warned, “Congress may never be able to seriously weigh in on this treaty.”
While the public has been entirely restricted from TPP negotiations, Sutton said the text of the agreement is viewable to over 600 trade advisory committee members — corporate lawyers in the employ of interested companies.
“So while it’s secret to anybody who doesn’t want to sign a nondisclosure agreement and would be limited in our ability to advocate for what’s going on,” she remarked, “these corporations that have certain interests — and want to push forward certain interests — have ready access to it.”
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