It would be a refreshing change to have some transparency in government. Both parties talk about it a lot but neither does a good job of following through. So-called free trade is rarely as free and beneficial as promised. (Think NAFTA.) If I was a complete cynic I might think that the political class likes these free trade deals so they're guaranteed lobbyist jobs when their political career is over.
Now more than ever, it's important that Americans have a full understanding of what Washington is negotiating. Americans have been hit hard by the bad economy and giving away more jobs needs a full, open discussion before anything is concluded.
More on the TPP secret negotiations at the Huffington Post.
Next week in Dallas, negotiations for what's likely to be the largest Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in U.S. history will continue in near total secrecy, despite growing demands for an open process. The darkness surrounding the talks isn't surprising, considering the American public's increasing disapproval of FTAs and the laundry list of corporate handouts under discussion. What is surprising is United States trade representative Ron Kirk's growing crackdown on public involvement, despite claims of "unprecedented transparency."(H/T to Sandra for this important yet under reported story.)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP) is being negotiated as a nine country FTA between the U.S., Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Canada, Japan and Mexico are all expected to join talks, and many see more Pacific Rim countries including China and Russia eventually signing on. With floundering WTO talks, the TPP could very well establish U.S. trade policy for the next generation, yet all talks are happening behind closed doors and public influence has been increasingly suppressed.