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Trade Legislators Push for Transparency on 'NAFTA on Steroids'

Open letter says secrecy must be lifted for public debate

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Photo: Stop Fast Track/cc/flickrA group of senior legislators representing seven of the 12 countries involved with the Trans-Pacific Partnership has urged that the veil of secrecy be lifted from the agreement dubbed 'NAFTA on steroids' in order to allow for "effective legislative scrutiny and public debate."

The call was made in an open letter published Tuesday with dozens of signatories from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Peru.

The jointly-signed text reads:

"We, the undersigned legislators from countries involved in the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, call on the parties to the negotiation to publish the draft text of the agreement before any final agreement is signed with sufficient time to enable effective legislative scrutiny and public debate."

Critics have slammed the secrecy that has surrounded the agreement, and what is known about it—that it will be a win for the 'corporate agenda', harm public health, lead to job loss, fuel inequality and threaten Internet users' rights— has been made known only through leaks of the document.

The twelve countries, which also includes the United States, Chile, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam, are set to hold a ministerial meeting in Singapore from Feb. 22-25.

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