USTR spokeswoman Carol Guthrie disputes Weinger’s claim that the TPP negotiating process has been secretive. “The reality is that TPP negotiations have been more transparent and consultative than any U.S. trade agreement in history while maintaining the confidentiality appropriate for a government-to-government negotiation,” she said in an e-mailed statement. “Releasing internal deliberative documents would undermine U.S. leverage in negotiations and impair our ability to pursue the strongest possible outcomes on issues ranging from labor and environmental protections to market access for U.S. goods and services.”Guthrie also faulted the IP Watch lawsuit for “factual misrepresentations,” including what she described as “the inaccurate assertion to the court that only industry representatives have access to the draft negotiating text.”It’s true that some non-industry groups have access to the text. For example, there are advisory committees for labor unions and environmental groups. But the IP Watch lawsuit is focused on the TPP’s IP provisions. Guthrie wasn’t able to identify non-industry groups focused on those issues that have been granted access to confidential documents.Guthrie also stressed that USTR has worked extensively with Congress. “USTR has held more than 1,100 separate meetings on the TPP with Members of Congress and with their staffs, to make sure the people’s representatives know what’s being negotiated and get to shape the talks,” she said.
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