Debunking Secrecy as Normal to Trade Negotiations

James Love of KEI shared this post which further substantiates the complaint that he pressed in person recently to Ron Kirk of the USTR. It is a pretty comprehensive look at the Free Trade Area for the Americas, “[p]roposed as a giant expansion of NAFTA”.

As Love explains, the FTAA initially started as a closed discussion but opened up considerably in the wake of at the Seattle WTO Ministerial meeting in December 1999. The FTAA released three drafts of the negotiating text, with the support of the USTR at the time.

The three drafts are available on the Internet here.

These drafts covered a very wide range of issues, and included all bracket negotiating texts. The FTAA also maintained a web page with voluminous documents, and sponsored all sorts of meetings and opportunities for businesses, labor and the public to participate in the negotiations, as is evident from the FTAA web site.

Unfortunately, as solid an example as this is of embracing transparency, the FTAA stalled out in 2005. I doubt very much that had anything to do with transparency, in fact I am almost positive of that. However, I hope that Love or other critics of ACTA can dig up more examples of transparent, international trade negotiations to build a stronger case to dismiss Kirk’s defense of the ACTA secrecy which we all know is bunkum.

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