Joint Open Letter by NGO Coalition to the US Congress

Opposing to TPP Fast-Track in the USA


Chairman Max Baucus, Ranking Member Orrin Hatch,
United States Senate,
Committee on Finance,
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator John Rockefeller,
Senator Ron Wyden, and
SenatorChuck Grassley,
United States Senate,
Dirksen Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510

Chairman Dave Camp, Ranking Member Sander Levin,
U.S. House of Representatives,
Ways and Means Committee,
1102 Longworth House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20515

Representative Kevin Brady,
Representative Jim McDermott,
United States House of Representatives,
Longworth House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch, Chairman Camp, Ranking Member Levin, and Congressional Advisors on Trade Policy and Negotiations,

In a statement to his Export Council on September 19, President Obama reiterated a call for Congress to limit its own oversight ability on trade agreements by approving fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

We, the undersigned groups, urge you to reject that request and retain your Constitutional authority to seek fixes and amendments to this and other trade agreements.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, commonly known as the TPP, has been negotiated in near-total secrecy between a still-growing list of countries around the Pacific region. Public interest groups have been routinely shut out of the negotiating venues, and our ability to present concerns to the negotiators have been largely symbolic, when permitted at all.

Since TPP trade delegates have kept all draft texts secret and have excluded public input from the process, our deep concerns about the agreement have been marginalized. In particular, the chapter titled “Intellectual!Property” – a draft of  which was leaked to the public in February 2011 – appears to encourage the sort of speech-restricting provisions that the public protested loudly when they appeared  in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Further, that chapter appears to include copyright enforcement rules that could prevent positive reforms to American law even as those laws remain far from fully settled. As just one example: its anti-circumvention rules echo section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA – a section that has been the subject of vigorous debate, numerous legislative proposals, and White House criticism this year because of its effect on phone-unlocking. With Congress currently considering how this law should work for Americans, crystallizing such language in another trade agreement without any opportunity for debate, will only create more problems down the road.

The American public has a right to know the contents of the international agreements its government is crafting. Corporations cannot be the only interests represented in this agreement, since they do not advocate for policies that safeguard or even represent the interests of the public at large. Given the administration’s complete lack of transparency in negotiating the TPP, it is vitally important that democratically elected representatives are at least given the opportunity to conduct a review and push for fixes.

To that end, we request that you oppose any legislation that would renew fast-track or trade promotion authority. Agreements such as the TPP require transparency and input from all affected stakeholders, and a fast-track process would not permit Congress to provide that essential feedback. The stakes for user’s rights are too high, and the process has been too secretive, to allow the administration to enact an agreement without meaningful Congressional oversight.


Amnesty International

Demand Progress

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Free Press Action Fund

Free Software Foundation

Gene Ethics

Global Exchange

IOGT International

Knowledge Ecology International

New Media Rights


Public Citizen

Public Knowledge

Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad



The PDF version of the open letter