Dec. 10 – WikiLeaks released two new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) documents last night that detail deep divisions and disagreements between negotiating states. The release of the two leaked documents comes as talks in Singapore intended to finalize TPP negotiations enter their fourth day.
One document, containing excerpts from internal government commentary on the state of TPP negotiations, is purported by WikiLeaks to “describe deep divisions between the United States and other nations, and “great pressure” being exerted by the US negotiators to move other nations to their position.”
The other document, a spreadsheet indicating each negotiating country’s position on TPP issues, is purported to “suggest that the TPP negotiations can only be concluded if the Asia-Pacific countries back down on key national interest issues, otherwise the treaty will fail altogether.”
Both documents are from the November 19-24 TPP negotiations held in Salt Lake City last month.
WikiLeaks’ release of the two TPP documents comes amidst growing controversy over negotiations. An open letter to TPP negotiators written last week by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that the TPP deal and secrecy surrounding it presented “grave risks.” In Australia, a decision to refuse the Senate access to the TPP text stirred further controversy after the ruling coalition said the full text would only be available after it had been signed.
Last month, WikiLeaks released the negotiated draft text for the TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter and claimed the proposed trade deal “negotiated in secret between 12 nations would trample over individual rights and expression.”
The United States, leading the negotiations in Singapore between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, questioned the authenticity of the WikiLeaks documents.
“These are not U.S. documents and we have no idea of their authorship or authenticity. Some elements in them are outdated, others totally inaccurate,” a spokesman for Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said.
If passed, the TPP would be the Obama administration’s biggest step yet towards trade liberalization.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been actively promoting the TPP, was forced to focus on territorial disputes between China, Japan, and South Korea during his most recent visit to the region. China’s recent establishment of an “air defense identification zone” in the disputed East China Sea increased regional tensions, and drew diplomatic attention away from the TPP negotiations.
“We still need to unlock the full potential for growth in the Asia Pacific. [The TPP] is the great catalyst for this effort, [and the Obama administration is] absolutely convinced that the multilateral free trade agreement under negotiation with some of the world’s most vibrant economics represents something good for everybody in the world. It will make a difference by raising standards, opening up markets and creating, literally, millions of more jobs,” Kerry said last month.
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