Thursday, June 20, 2013

Senator Warren Steps Up On Trade

Really amazing quotes in her speech opposing the US trade rep's confirmation.
I asked the President's nominee to be Trade Representative-Michael Froman-three questions:  First, would he commit to releasing the composite bracketed text [the full text of the TPP as it currently stands]? Or second, if not, would he commit to releasing just a scrubbed version of the bracketed text that made anonymous which country proposed which provision... Third, I asked Mr. Froman if he would provide more transparency behind what information is made [available] to the trade office's outside advisors. Currently, there are about 600 outside advisors that have access to sensitive information, and the roster includes a wide diversity of industry representatives and some labor and NGO representatives too.  But there is no transparency around who gets what information and whether they all see the same things, and I think that's a real problem. Mr. Froman's response was clear:  No, no, no.

"I have heard the argument that transparency would undermine the Trade Representative's policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant," Warren explained. "In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it. This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States."  
So his nomination still passed by an enormous margin, but this is an issue where we've needed Democrats to step up for a long long time. Glad that someone is taking charge.

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