By Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service
MANHATTAN (CN) — Amid growing opposition to his signature treaty, President Barack Obama may face public exposure of how his corporate advisers shaped the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The administration’s lawyers have spent roughly three years arguing in Federal Court that showing the treaty’s corporate fingerprints to the public would threaten national security by shining a light on secret negotiations between a dozen world powers.
But U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos splashed cold water on those fears on Wednesday.
“[The U.S. Trade Representative] has not made a logical or plausible case that disclosure of text suggested by the private sector could harm foreign relations,” he wrote in a 35-page opinion.
The decision could bring belated transparency to a treaty that has become a political lightning rod in a U.S. election season.
For more than five years, the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations engaged in a geopolitical dance behind closed doors that ended in a sweeping agreement in October.
The public would not see the final text for another month after the ink dried, though the terms would help determine how the signing countries conduct their affairs regarding the environment, agriculture, medicine, labor, the internet, human rights, and many other issues. Critics of the deal have noted that the treaty is so vast and sweeping that it can hardly be called a “trade” deal at all, but a bid by transnational businesses to loosen regulatory constraints. Public Citizen, a Washington-based advocacy group, notes that only six of the deal’s 30 chapters relate to trade as it is traditionally understood.
Due to a confidentiality agreement among the world powers, the people of those nations could not see the TPP’s drafts, and they had no voice in the future form of …