WASHINGTON -- Opponents of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal reacted angrily Monday to disclosures that the Obama administration is backing proposals that would expand political powers for corporations, weaken financial regulations and increase the cost of prescription drugs.
In an interview on Huffpost Live Monday, Ilana Solomon, Sierra Club director of responsible trade, said parts of the proposed trade pact "could directly threaten our climate and our environment [including] new rights that would be given to corporations, and new constraints on the fossil fuel industry all have a huge impact on our climate, water, and land."
Parker Higgins, an activist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the intellectual property rights chapter of the proposed agreement is "deeply worrisome -- not just in substance."
"What we've seen is actually a lot harsher than many of the national regulations that we see around the world, but we've also in terms of process," Higgins said. "This new leak suggests that things are still a little problematic, but this is not the way that Internet policy should be formed. It's really an inappropriate venue for that."
The Obama administration since 2010 been leading negotiations on the international trade accord with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, and urges countries to reach a deal by New Year's Day. The U.S. has deemed negotiations to be secret -- banning members of Congress from discussing the American negotiating position with the press or the public.
Memos obtained by The Huffington Post show the U.S. is having trouble gaining support for the agreement among the 11 other participating nations.
Ben Beachy, research director at Public Citizen, said the leaked documents show U.S. negotiators are isolated from other countries as well as from the U.S. Congress.