[A2k] A2k Digest, Vol 38, Issue 14

Susan Aaronson saaronson2 at verizon.net
Wed Jun 19 12:05:47 PDT 2013


would you add this article to the list: It makes suggestions on how the 
USTR might reform the trade policymaking process to be more open.
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/17/trade_secrets_eu_us_free_trade_agreement_negotiations
thanks for considering.


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  Trade Secrets
  <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/17/trade_secrets_eu_us_free_trade_agreement_negotiations>


    The U.S.-EU free trade agreement could be a boon for the global
    economy, but confidential negotiations are a dangerous threat to
    democracy.


      BY SUSAN ARIEL AARONSON | JUNE 17, 2013

The winners of the 2012 and 2009 Nobel Peace Prizes are hooking up. At 
the G8 summit on June 17, President Barack Obama announced 
<http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/obama-us-host-talks-eu-trade-deal-19419671#.Ub-C5uf_CSo> 
that the United States and the European Union would begin trade talks in 
Washington in July. British Prime Minister David Cameron predicted 
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jun/17/europe-us-transatlantic-trade-deal> 
that if negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment 
Partnership (T-TIP) succeed, the trade agreement would bring millions of 
jobs to the nations bordering the Atlantic and could be "the biggest 
bilateral trade deal in history." But as important as an EU-U.S. trade 
union would be for the global economy -- and the resulting free trade 
area could amount to as much as 40 percent of global gross domestic 
product (GDP) -- it has even more important implications for the future 
of democracy.

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Trade diplomats from both the United States and the 27 member states of 
the European Union say they want to create a 21st century trade 
agreement. They stress that in order to achieve that goal, they must not 
only reduce visible barriers to trade such as tariffs, but also achieve 
coherence among a wide range of social and environmental regulations -- 
everything from food safety and data protection to banking, labor, and 
environmental standards. Diplomats note that although these regulations 
have legitimate objectives, they may without intent increase costs for 
foreign vs. domestic producers. Firms selling to both markets 
potentially have to comply with regulations from the United States, the 
27 EU countries, and the European Community (the bureaucracy governing 
the EU). However, if the United States and European Union can find 
common ground on these regulations, firms would have one set of common 
rules, the costs of production could decrease, more jobs could be 
created, and trade would expand. So far, however, neither side has made 
clear whether the end goal for regulatory coherence is harmonization, 
convergence, or some form mutual recognition where both parties accept 
the other's regulations without demanding change.

American and European trade negotiators may find that regulatory 
coherence is difficult to achieve. First, both the European Union (at 
the national and European Community-wide level) and the United States 
have honed these regulations over time based on public and business 
preferences. Regardless of their impact on trade efficiency, the public 
on both sides of the Atlantic accepts these regulations as 
democratically determined and hence, legitimate. But U.S. and EU 
citizens may not feel the same about regulatory compromises developed in 
secret by trade negotiators. Second, the United States and European 
Union have very different approaches to designing and implementing such 
regulations -- differences that stem from two equally different 
approaches to democratic capitalism and governance. In general, the 
European Union focuses on risks to society that stem from 
under-regulation -- such as injury or death from unsafe food, medicine, 
or working places. The United States, by contrast, is more concerned 
about the cost effectiveness of regulations. Hence U.S. regulators weigh 
whether the costs of regulating outweigh the benefits, and whether 
market forces can better achieve these goals. .

Not surprisingly, the two trade giants also have different regulatory 
strategies. The European Union tends to regulate in a top down, 
state-controlled manner with labor, business, and civil society input. 
The United States, meanwhile, tries to encourage business 
self-regulation or, when directly regulating, tries to use regulation 
that encourages market forces (such as transparency) rather than the 
visible hand of government. Given these fundamental differences, trade 
diplomats may find that some citizens oppose the T-TIP on both sides of 
the Atlantic, whether because they believe attempts to achieve 
regulatory coherence mean deregulation or because they see them as 
defining regulations downward. At the same time, given the EU's stronger 
regulatory regime, some trade critics also see opportunity in the T-TIP. 
According 
<http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/283913-unions-hope-us-eu-trade-talks-can-be-lever-to-change-labor-laws> 
to Leo Gerard, head of the United Steel Workers, because European 
workers have achieved higher workplace standards and maintained greater 
union clout, "An agreement, properly designed and implemented, could be 
a force for progress." The obvious solution to this problem is to 
facilitate direct public input into the negotiations. Yet that is not 
the current strategy.

Trade policymaking in both the United States and European Union remains 
stuck in a 19th century time warp of opacity and secrecy. While trade 
negotiators require secrecy to discuss sector-specific tariffs or 
business confidential information, it's hard to understand why such 
secrecy should apply to the negotiation of chapters on regulatory issues 
like labor rights, data protection (what the U.S. calls privacy), or the 
environment. Diplomats have long argued that secrecy builds trust 
between countries, as they must count on counterparts to keep 
information confidential. But in this type of negotiation, there is 
little to be gained from keeping the objectives, strategy or progress 
secret. On the contrary, by keeping so much of the negotiation behind 
closed doors, they may engender public distrust.

The United States has sought public comments 
<http://insidetrade.com/iwpfile.html?file=may2013%2Fwto2013_1667a.pdf> 
on the negotiation and the European Parliament has given its assent 
<http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20130612IPR11601/html/INTA-chair-Moreira-welcomes-launch-of-EU-US-Trade-talks> 
to the actual negotiating draft. (Although individual members of 
Congress have weighed in on the agreement, Congress has not yet held 
hearings on the talks.) But neither the United States nor the EU  has 
clearly delineated how they might incorporate public comments  into the 
negotiation process.

The United States, in particular, has not met its promises to ensure 
transparent and accountable governance. During his first campaign for 
the presidency, then Sen. Obama promised to restore the American 
people's trust in government by making it more open and transparent. The 
president fulfilled this pledge, at least in part, with his Open 
Government Directive, issued in 2009, requiring government agencies to 
go public with their data. Nonetheless, the administration's approach to 
trade negotiations remains decidedly closed. For example, the website 
for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative -- charged with 
negotiating on behalf of the United States -- is essentially a 
dissemination device, rather than an interactive forum on which citizens 
can register their input. At a minimum, the website should be used 
facilitate a broader dialogue with Americans concerned about trade 
issues; it should be interactive with staff designated to respond to 
citizen comment.

In general, trade policies in both the United States and the European 
Union are dictated by senior government officials who are generally 
responsive to a small group of concerned citizens and business 
interests. The U.S. Trade Representative does allow some individuals 
greater insights into the negotiations. For example, cleared advisors, 
including some members of Congress and congressional staff, are allowed 
to see up to date information about the negotiations -- but they are 
required <http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02876.pdf> to have a secret 
clearance and to keep this information confidential. The bulk of these 
advisors represent commercial and economic interests -- or are 
individuals with connections <http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/mission> to 
the current administration. Neither the United States nor the European 
Union has developed an advisory committee infrastructure to examine how 
to achieve regulatory coherence in a transparent, accountable manner -- 
so here are two suggestions:

First, Congress and the EU Parliament should keep a close watch on the 
negotiations. Both bodies should also clarify whether achieving 
regulatory coherence means harmonization, mutual recognition or some 
other approach. Second, the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies 
involved in the negotiations should become more proactive as well as 
more interactive online. The Obama administration should develop a 
website encouraging consistent public feedback and dialogue on the T-TIP 
throughout the course of the negotiations, rather than solely at the 
beginning and end. The website should clearly delineate the objectives 
of negotiations on regulatory coherence as well as the administration's 
desired outcome. The website should also include regular updates on the 
negotiations for each chapter of the proposed agreement, particularly 
those that relate to environmental and social regulations.

Given the economic and political import of these negotiations, neither 
the United States nor the EU can afford to lose public trust in these 
negotiations. Policymakers cannot long proceed with secretive 
negotiations over policies that are not accountable to citizens as the 
very public scuttling of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement 
<http://keepthewebopen.com/acta> and the Multilateral Agreement on 
Investment 
<http://www.globalpolicy.org/globalization/globalization-of-the-economy-2-1/multilateral-agreement-on-investment-2-5.html> 
reveal. In fact, in its required Open Government Plan 
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/ustr_open_government_plan__june_2012.pdf>, 
USTR agreed that it needed to change its culture and become more 
responsive to the public at large, but it is struggling to figure out 
how to do just that.

Regulatory coherence is an important objective for the United States and 
the European Union. If the two trade behemoths can find common ground on 
regulations, their shared standards will set the bar for the global 
economy and facilitate high standards worldwide. They will also enhance 
the clout of the world's oldest and largest democracies in the global 
economy. But policymakers must negotiate these regulations in a 
transparent and accountable manner that reflects 21st century standards 
for democratic governance. After all, even in the 18th century, 
policymakers such as James Madison recognized that a "popular government 
without popular information, or means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue 
to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both."

Save big when you *subscribe* to FP. 
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JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

  SUBJECTS: TRADE <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/category/topic/trade>, 
EUROPE <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/category/region/europe>

/Susan Ariel Aaronson is associate research professor at the Institute 
of International Economic Policy, George Washington University, and the 
Minerva Chair at the National War College. /

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3 comments

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Cylon1968
Cylon1968 <http://www.livefyre.com/profile/16027309/>

Every trade agreement or trade regime that the U.S. has entered into has 
left it worse off than it was before. The largest economy in the EU, 
Germany, is characterized by a high savings rate and nationalistic 
buyers. In addition, some have even accused Germany of using 
mercantilist policies to give itself an advantage in trade. So, if the 
largest market in the EU is effectively off the table when it comes 
to U.S. exports, why pursue an agreement? Furthermore, what country in 
he EU doesn't have a surplus with the U.S.? Any agreement will 
likely increase U.S. trade deficits and lead to further 
de-industrialization. Sure, soybean exports might go through the roof, 
but the exports that create real jobs wouldn't materialize.

20 hours agoReplyLike
Adjicin
Adjicin <http://www.livefyre.com/profile/14427734/>

Trade negotiations are not done in an open forum because the unfinished 
business of discussion has the power to move markets, and the cumulative 
effect of such speculation has been economically damaging, and have 
encumbered the process towards a treaty with arguments in the media over 
things the negotiators had already settled. Additionally, lobbyists are 
excluded from the discussion to prevent the focus of the negotiators 
from being distorted by lobbyist activism intervening in the discussion.

Ms Aaronson may know more than the rest of us how to hold back these 
disruptive forces of nature, but until she performs these miracles for 
an admiring people, we might just let the discussions proceed apace 
behind closed doors.

As things stand there is no departure from the plan to construct a 
working free trade treaty to go before legislatures expediently, and to 
embrace the future potential for unforced cooperation on conforming 
regulatory standards, without expectation the need to be enshrined 
within the new treaty in their particulars. They are a feature if 
discussion largely because Europe seeks concessions from the US in the 
bargain for this treaty. Whether they get any or not, that is the real 
buzz and why the doors remained closed to the public. How 
bureaucratically those standards are to be enforced will remain with the 
respective authorities, but at least a common code can be agreed upon to 
realize some cost cuts as the free trade agreement goes into effect 
initially. Going at least that far is not quite a concession, but meets 
the requirements. It is helpful to recognize that the trade already 
taking place between North America and Europe has already forced many 
controlling processes for trade regulation to conform to new streamlined 
policies. The movement toward standardization throughout modern 
civilization is well under way without any secret discussions.

1 day agoReplyLike
aljade82
aljade82 <http://www.livefyre.com/profile/5972128/>

A boon for the economy? Every one of these deals has been a disaster. 
Where are the jobs that keep getting promised whenever another free 
trade deal is signed? Oh, I see: They're in retail and other low-paying 
"service industries." Meanwhile, all the jobs that offer good pay and 
benefits get shipped abroad, and the only people who end up winning are 
millionaires and billionaires.

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  * <http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2013/06/_2013_nba_finals_game_6_ray_allen_s_three_pointer_revealed_everything_that.html>
    Ray Allen's 3-Pointer Revealed Everything That's Great About Sports
    <http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2013/06/_2013_nba_finals_game_6_ray_allen_s_three_pointer_revealed_everything_that.html>


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On 6/19/2013 3:00 PM, a2k-request at lists.keionline.org wrote:
> Send A2k mailing list submissions to
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> Today's Topics:
>
>     1. ARL Policy Notes, Reed Elsevier uses fair use defense in big
>        infringement case involving legal briefs (Jamie Love)
>     2. Pirate Bay co-founder can be extradited from Sweden to
>        Denmark, court rules (Riaz K Tayob)
>     3. The European Orphan Works Directive - an EIFL Guide
>        (Teresa Hackett)
>     4. KEI opening statement at Marrakesh diplomatic conference |
>        Knowledge Ecology International (Jamie Love)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 14:44:05 +0000
> From: Jamie Love <james.love at keionline.org>
> To: a2k at lists.keionline.org
> Subject: [A2k] ARL Policy Notes, Reed Elsevier uses fair use defense
> 	in big infringement case involving legal briefs
> Message-ID:
> 	<CA+aiKTRXNFyN+PVPioxmRYx+0RkwJpemb1V4w5rX2qi4E0E=ZA at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>
> I am in Marrakesh, Morocco, at the WIPO diplomatic conference for the
> blind.  Here Reed Elsevier is pushing hard against fair use language
> in the treaty.  But back in the USA, they are using fair use as a
> defense of infringement claims, in a dispute involving Reed Elsevier's
> use of legal briefs without permission from authors.   I agree with
> Reed Elsevier's fair use of briefs, but the irony is impressive this
> week.
>
> http://policynotes.arl.org/post/53359448111/great-fair-use-advice-from-reed-elsevier-seriously
>
>

-- 
Susan Ariel Aaronson, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor, Institute of International Economic Policy
and
Minerva Chair, National War College
http://www.gwu.edu/~elliott/faculty/aaronson.cfm
Please visit the Internet Openness Metric Project Web site:
http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/governance/internet_openness_metric_project/
Please visit the Trade and the Internet Project Web site:
http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/governance/taig/


Please visit my SSRN user page: http://ssrn.com/author=1145702




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