Trans-Pacific Trade Deal Document Sought by EFF

     (CN) – The Electronic Frontier Foundation joined dozens of organizations urging the 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to publish the secret text of the proposed free trade agreement.
     The 12 countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations include Australia, Brunei, Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam.
     If approved, it will become the world’s biggest free trade agreement.
     For the last five years, the TPP has been negotiated in secrecy, without any public scrutiny of the proposed terms, except through leaks.
     In October, WikiLeaks published a version of the TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, which showed that the U.S. and Japan support strong patent rules which favor the pharmaceutical industry.
     The leak also revealed new language on the misuse of trade secrets, “which could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who revels or even accesses information through a ‘computer system’ that is considered ‘confidential,'” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
     The foundation fears that the TPP may include language that “could quash digital rights for Internet users everywhere in the name of intellectual property protection.”
     The joint letter to the ministers of 12 TPP counties says, “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.”
     Dozens of civil society groups from around the world, including Creative Commons and Oxfam, signed the letter.
     It will be presented by an OpenMedia International representative to TPP delegates at negotiations in Washington D.C.

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