Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Nicholas Florko, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch
w. (202) 454-5108

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog

Follow us on Twitter


Dec. 7, 2011

Trans-Pacific Trade Talks in Malaysia Underscore Secrecy of Negotiations, Problems With Potential Deal


Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

The Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks in Malaysia this week underscore the point that critics of this potential trade deal have been making for months: Despite Obama’s pledges to negotiate a high-standard deal and do so transparently, the negotiations continue to take place in extreme secrecy. Additionally, leaked texts have shown that the deal likely will repeat the worst aspects of past trade deals and add new one-percenter demands to limit consumer access to affordable medicines, weaken food and product safety, and cause more damage to most of us.

Transparency even has taken a step backward in the Malaysia round.

Negotiators are not even meeting with stakeholders this time around. And not only have repeated international calls to release the working texts gone unheeded, we learned in September that the Obama administration joined the other negotiating parties in signing a secrecy pact that stipulates the texts will not be released until four years after negotiations end. International outcry led the government of New Zealand – the repository of Trans-Pacific FTA documents – to publicly post the text of these “confidentiality letters.” That means that the only document that has been released so far is a document – released only in response to extreme international pressure – explaining that no documents will be released.

More than 600 executives from corporations have been named as official U.S. trade advisors and have access to the texts and talks. But members of Congress, journalists and the people whose lives will be most affected have no ability to see what our negotiators are bargaining for – and bargaining away – until a deal is final and it is effectively too late for changes.

Two-thirds of all House Democrats recently voted against Obama on FTAs he submitted that had been negotiated in secret by the previous administration – a greater percentage than on any other legislation since he took office. The administration should take that as a warning of what not to do as it negotiates the Trans-Pacific FTA.

Read the secrecy pact at http://bit.ly/uPeFTJ. Read the letters from the international transparency campaign at http://bit.ly/nmiw4v.


Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.  

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.


To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.