Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey

If the EU can release draft texts, why do we have to rely on Wikileaks?If the EU can release draft texts, why do we have to rely on Wikileaks?

In response to what it calls ‘unprecedented public interest’, the European Commission says it will release its proposed investment chapter for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a mega-deal with the US that is seen as a twin to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Both the draft investment chapter and a layperson’s explanation will be put out for public consultation in March, before the text is tabled in the talks. Meanwhile, the investment part of the TTIP negotiations has been suspended.

‘Those who defend the obsessive secrecy of the TPPA say that no state would negotiate these kinds of agreements in public’, said Professor Jane Kelsey, who has criticised the TPPA process.

‘As we have pointed out, it is common practice in the World Trade Organization to release negotiating texts, especially the kind of chair’s text on the environment chapter that was leaked earlier this month, and in many other international negotiations’.

‘If it is good enough for the European Union to consult on texts before they are tabled, why should people in the TPPA countries have to rely on Wikileaks to see what our governments have been discussing for several years?’, she asked.

A draft of the TPPA investment chapter was leaked in 2011 that showed extensive disagreement around crucial issues. The Ministers now claim they are close to reaching a final deal.

Professor Kelsey called on New Zealand to follow the Europeans’ lead and release its version of the investment chapter for public consultation while there is still time to reconsider the content.

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