The trade rules of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership between the United States and 11 Asian nations would cover nearly 40 percent of the world economy — but don’t ask what they are. Access to the text of the proposed deal is highly restricted.
Nevertheless, at last month’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman defended the Obama administration from intensifying criticism of its refusal to release the full text of the proposed trade pact.
“We can always do better on transparency,” he said, but added that “there is no area of policy where there is closer collaboration between the executive and Congress than trade policy.”
Froman, who said his office has held more than 1,600 briefings with lawmakers over the TPP, asserted that his office also has released summaries of proposed provisions.
Yet the actual text of the agreement remains under lock and key. That represents a significant break from the Bush administration, which in 2001 published the text of a proposed multinational trade agreement with Latin American nations.
“It is incomprehensible to me that leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP, while at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge of what’s in it,” wrote U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a letter to Froman last month.