Call for release of Trans-Pacific Partnership text

NGOs urge public scrutiny of TPP transnational treaty

Forty-eight non-government organisations have issued a call for the release of the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Organisations including Electronic Frontiers Australia, the Australian Digital Alliance, Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee, the Public Health Association of Australia and Creative Commons signed the open letter, which calls for negotiators to release the text of the transnational treaty.

"In statements, in letters, and in face-to-face meetings with trade representatives, we have urged the adoption of concrete practices that would better enable the kind of open debate and oversight that would help demystify these ongoing negotiations by making better, more accurate information available to the public," the letter states.

"The end of TPP negotiations now seems to be coming into focus," it states. "They have come down to high-level political decisions by negotiating countries, and the text is largely completed except for some resolutions on remaining landing zones. At this point, we know that there is a draft of the TPP that is mostly agreed upon by those negotiating the deal.

"Today, we strongly urge you to release the unbracketed text and to release the negotiating positions for text that is bracketed, now and going forwards as any future proposals are made. The public has a legitimate interest in knowing what has already been decided on its behalf, and what is now at stake with our various countries’ positions on these controversial regulatory issues."

The letter cites a recommendation in November by the European Commission that the in-progress text of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership be released as a precedent.

The secrecy of the broad-ranging TPP negotiations have previously made the agreement a subject of criticism.

In November, Wikileaks released a working document for the intellectual property chapter of the agreements.

The leaked document revealed that Australian negotiators were pushing an approach to copyright enforcement in the region that appeared to ignore broader public interest concerns in favour of the supporting rights owners.

Updated December 18 to note that Electronic Frontiers Australia is also signatory

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Tags Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

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