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Civil Society Groups call for release of secret TPP texts

MEDIA RELEASE December 12, 2014

Civil Society Groups call for release of secret TPP texts after EU decision to release Trans-Atlantic trade texts

“As negotiators from Australia, the US, Japan and nine other Pacific Rim countries meet behind closed doors in Washington, we join 48 civil society groups from around the world to call for the release of the text before it is signed by governments. These organisations represent the millions of people around the world who have signed petitions demanding an end to TPP secrecy,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET)said today. The international call is attached.

“This call follows the European Commission's recent announcement to make EU-US trade negotiations over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) more transparent, through releasing the EU's negotiating texts and providing access to all TTIP texts for members of the European Parliament. The EU decision resulted from public outcry against secrecy. Similar public protests led to the publication of the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement before it was signed in 2011. The TPP negotiators should follow these examples,” said Dr Ranald.

“The TPP has been negotiated in secret for the last five years. But we know from leaked documents that it contains proposals for pharmaceutical companies to delay access to cheaper generic medicines, and for media companies to extend copyright resulting in higher costs and more internet controls for consumers. The TPP would also give foreign investorsspecial rights to sue governments over domestic legislation if a change in law or policy could be claimed to harm their investment, known as ISDS. There is strong public opposition to all these proposals. TPP governments should follow the European example release the TPP text to enable our governments to be held accountable,” said Dr Ranald.

“Our call comes as TPP governments seek to conclude the deal in the coming months. As the TPP text nears its final stage, trade ministers should stop the secrecy and re-commit themselves to democratic principles of transparency and public accountability by releasing the text before it is signed. If it is a good deal as claimed by our governments, why can’t we see the text until after the deal is done? Informed public debate and evaluation of the detail of the TPP text before it is signed is the only way to test these claims.” said Dr Ranald.


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