World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Canada setting new global standard for TPP secrecy

Media Release
June 27, 2014

Canada setting new global standard for TPP secrecy

Ottawa – With an undisclosed location, hidden session schedules, and even key foreign negotiators kept out of the loop, the secrecy surrounding next week’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating round in Ottawa marks a new low point in transparency for an already secretive trade deal, says the Council of Canadians.

Despite being less than a week away from hosting hundreds of negotiators and other officials from the other 11 TPP member countries — which include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam — the Canadian government has kept a tight lid on any details about the Ottawa meeting.

“The Canadian government claims that ‘interested stakeholders have an opportunity to provide their views related to Canada’s interests in the TPP.’ The Canadian government claims that ‘interested stakeholders have an opportunity to provide their views related to Canada’s interests in the TPP’ but it won’t release even the most basic information to allow for stakeholder access to negotiators as has happened at previous rounds,” says Scott Harris, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “We’re hearing from our partners overseas that even some negotiators have had a hard time getting basic information such as the meeting locations and the session schedule.”

This is the first time since joining the TPP negotiations in October, 2012 that Canada will host a high-level round of the talks aimed at finalizing the controversial deal. Initially scheduled for Vancouver, the venue was shifted without explanation to Ottawa late last week.

The only information that has been publicly released is a one-sentence notice posted June 24 on the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development website stating that “Negotiators, subject matter experts and other officials will meet in Ottawa, Canada, from July 3-12. No ministerial meeting is being scheduled on the margin of the officials meeting in Ottawa.”

New Zealand law professor Jane Kelsey has attended many of the rounds as a registered stakeholder, and, when that process ended without any explanation, as an observer. She describes Canada's secrecy as “unprecedented.”

“There can only be one reason for withholding the details: to shut down the remaining minimal access we have to negotiators, a number of whom are happy to meet with us,” Kelsey says. “When governments are so afraid of informed public debate, they clearly do not believe they can sell the merits of what they are negotiating.”

On June 20, a range of civil society organizations based in Canada and Quebec sent a letter to Canada’s Chief Negotiator Kirsten Hillman, Trade Minister Ed Fast, and other officials requesting details of the arrangements for stakeholder engagement and briefings based on previous TPP rounds, but have received no response.

“It’s an embarrassment that instead of following in the footsteps of other host countries and facilitating an exchange of information between Canadian experts and the negotiators, Canada is instead making participation in the talks all but impossible,” says Scott Harris. “Even by the standards of secrecy we’ve come to expect from the TPP, this is extreme.”

The public has had no access to draft TPP texts since negotiations were launched in 2008, but leaks of key negotiating documents have revealed troubling details about the scope of the far-reaching agreement that, if completed, would encompass 40 per cent of the world’s GDP and one-third of global trade.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Palestine: Border Police Extremely Close When They Shot The US Activist

New testimony at final hearing in Tristan Anderson's trial indicates Border Police were extremely close when they shot the US activist in the head More>>

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>


Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Vanuatu: Regenvanu Expects 50% Of People Struck By Pam To Be Homeless

Vanuatu Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu says more than 50 percent of those hit by super Cyclone Pam at the weekend are now homeless. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news