President Barack Obama’s administration should release documents the U.S. and 10 other Pacific-region nations are using as they negotiate a new trade agreement, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said.She seems to be hinting that if the general public knew the details of these secret negotiations, they would be staunchly opposed to the new deal. When Michael Froman was nominated for the post of U.S. Trade Representative in early May, Ilana Solomon at the Huffington Post said his #1 priority should be transparency:
In a letter to Michael Froman, Obama’s nominee to lead the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, the Massachusetts lawmaker said releasing details of what is being considered by the parties would give citizens a chance to evaluate the deal before negotiations are completed.
“I appreciate the willingness of the USTR to make various documents available for review by members of Congress, but I do not believe that is a substitute for more robust public transparency,” Warren wrote to Froman, who is now an assistant to the president. “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.”
Trade rules affect nearly every aspect of our lives -- the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the price of medicines we may need, the jobs we depend on. It is therefore absolutely critical that the public has a say in how trade rules are formulated and implemented.Hats off to Sen. Warren for once again demanding transparency and action.
Today, trade rules are usually written under a cloud of secrecy. For example, the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- potentially the largest free trade agreement ever -- has been under negotiation for over three years and may conclude as early as this October. And yet, not a single word of draft text has been released to the public. Without draft text, the public is left to guess what may be included in trade deals and is unable to meaningfully engage. Responsible trade begins with public participation.
Want to see more transparency in trade negotiations? Sign our petition backing up Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s request that all documents being used to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership be released for review by the public.