Global ad provider Google has come out in favor of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
The web giant's general counsel Kent Walker noted in a blog post that the agreement "is not perfect" and decried the lack of transparency that has dogged the process, but argues that it "recognizes the Internet's transformative impact on trade."
"The Internet has revolutionized how people can share and access information, and the TPP promotes the free flow of information in ways that are unprecedented for a binding international agreement," Walker writes.
"The TPP requires the 12 participating countries to allow cross-border transfers of information and prohibits them from requiring local storage of data. These provisions will support the Internet's open architecture and make it more difficult for TPP countries to block Internet sites."
The post says that some positive developments in the TPP, among others, are:
- "Balanced" copyright protections that retain the ability of companies to innovate.
- A limit on the ability of governments to demand access to encryption keys.
- A prohibition on customs duties on digital products.
"We hope that the TPP can be a positive force and an important counterweight to restrictive Internet policies around the world," he argues.
Coming to a head
The post comes as debate heats up again over the trade agreement. All current presidential candidates have said they do not support it and critics – of which there are many – argue that it gives new rights to corporations over the interests of consumers. They also claim it threatens American jobs and wages, the environment, food safety, and public health.
This week, nearly 500 environmental groups signed a letter urging Congress not to ratify it, adding to 1,500 other civil society organizations that oppose it.
In our review of the text (when it was finally published) and the subsequent criticism of it, we found lots of fear mongering but little or no evidence of harm.
Meanwhile, making an unusual but amusing plea for the agreement, this week President Obama appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Show and gave a slow-jam outlining his administration's successes and arguing in favor of the TPP.
"The TPP allows American businesses to sell their products both at home and abroad," he told the audience. "The more we sell abroad, the more higher-paying jobs we provide here at home. It's that simple."
"Are you saying you're down with TPP?" Fallon asked the president. "Yeah, you know me," he responded.
The president hopes to get the TPP ratified before he leaves office and a vote is currently planned for after the November elections in an effort to minimize political blowback. ®