About an hour ago, representatives from 12 different nations officially signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement
in Auckland, New Zealand. The date, February 4th (New Zealand time) is noteworthy, because it’s 90 days after the official text was released
. There was a 90 day clock
that was required between releasing the text and before the US could actually sign onto the agreement. The stated purpose
of this 90 day clock was in order to allow “debate” about the agreement. Remember, the entire agreement was negotiated in secret, with US officials treating the text of the document as if it were a national security secret (unless you were an industry lobbyist, of course). So as a nod to pretend “transparency” there was a promise that nothing would be signed for 90 days after the text was actually released.
So… uh… what happened to that “debate”? It didn’t happen at all. The TPP was barely mentioned at all by the administration in the last 90 days. Even during the State of the Union, Obama breezed past the TPP with a quick comment, even though it’s supposedly a defining part of his “legacy.” But there’s been no debate. Because there was never any intent for an actual debate. The 90 day clock was just something that was put into the process so that the USTR and the White House could pretendthat there was more “transparency” and that they wouldn’t sign the agreement until after it had been looked at and understood by the public.