Corporate cuddle: USTR linked arms with industry in TPP negotiations

Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V: how to win at lobbying

Freedom of Information work from IP Watch has brought about the release of a pile of e-mails detailing relations between the US Trade Representative and various industry lobbies that have been wish-listing the Trans Pacific Partnership process.

Although often heavily redacted, the e-mails let slip the occasional gems – such as when Jim DeLisi of Fanwood Chemical is pleasantly “surprised” to find that that USTR had used “our rules” to draft rules of origin in the agreement.

Considering that message was to the USTR's Barbara Weisel, cheerful thanks for using a document drafted by industry at least indicates quite deep industry input to the process.

“There is no doubt, this is our template”, DeLisi says in another message.

It's also interesting to note that while citizens around the world have been prevented from seeing the TPP documents, groups like the Emergency Committee for American Trade (which is both a representative of business lobbies and a supporter of the TPP) had no such challenges.

Referring to a Stakeholder Engagement confab in 2012, an invitation notes that stakeholders will get the chance to “speak directly and one-on-one with negotiators”.

The e-mail dump is the result of ongoing litigation by IP Watch and Yale. The EFF has put an archive of the e-mails here.

Companies that get honourable mentions in the USTR contact list include Intel and Cisco, the Entertainment Software Association, the RIAA and, as the cliché goes, many more.

The White House is hoping to get approval to put the TPP negotiations onto the “fast track”, under which Congress would get to vote on the treaty as a yes/no proposition, without voting on particular details. ®


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