The secrecy around the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the issue that won't go away. Absent public information on what is being discussed, opponents of the secret process hint of terrible things to come if the TPP is approved, while the Administration asserts that negotiations can't be held in public. Really, Mr. President? This is a trade agreement, not national security secrets. Have we forgotten that a vigorous democracy depends upon vigorous public debate? Or, is this too old-fashioned a sentiment?
Let's get specific for a moment. One of the provisions of the TPP is alleged to be a corporate-nation dispute resolution process. Sounds boring and bureaucratic. However, this provision appears to create the right of corporations to sue nations for damages, if the nation's laws or regulations reduce their profit. This could include suing over environmental, health and safety protections, as well as regulation of corporate behavior. Is putting corporate profit over national sovereignty a good idea?
Some questions for the President:
o Does this corporate-nation dispute resolution provision exist in the current draft of the TPP?
o Does the U.S. support this provision?
o If so, why is it in the best interests of the U.S.?
Absent public disclosure and public debate, this provision alone would appear to justify a "NO" vote on the TPP.
Time to answer the questions, Mr. President.