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Transparency Groups Write to Members of Congress, Urging Public Access to Draft Trade Pacts Texts

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Dear Representative/Senator:

The undersigned organizations, dedicated to government openness, scientific integrity and accountability, write to urge that any trade authority legislation must establish new obligations for executive transparency, including public access to trade agreement texts, which would initiate a new era of openness and public discourse surrounding trade negotiations.

As Congress contemplates whether or how to delegate its constitutional authority over trade policy to the Obama administration, we understand that a Fast Track trade authority bill is expected soon and that it may include revised provisions around transparency in trade negotiations. If the trade authority bill is to actually increase transparency, then it must go much further than simply codifying past practices. At a minimum, any trade authority legislation should mandate that in order for a trade agreement to be granted expedited consideration in Congress, both U.S. draft textual proposals and the consolidated bracketed negotiating texts must be made public at regular intervals during the negotiating process. Trade negotiations such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that have not met these transparency standards should not receive any Fast Track treatment