The full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was released on Thursday to criticism and confusion. The TPP is the world’s largest trade agreement, written during years of secret negotiations between the US and 11 Pacific Rim countries representing 40 per cent of the world’s economy.
Due to the bill’s length, and the secrecy during the trade agreement’s creation — which covers everything from consumer electronics to pharmaceutical patents — activists, journalists, technologists, and even America’s own politicians are scrambling to catch up.
The series of documents, which total more than 6,000 pages long and span 30 chapters, are split up into different sections of PDF files but can be more easily read on Barack Obama’s Medium account where it was strangely re-posted shortly after. While no one has quite gotten through the entire document yet, journalists and pundits have begun analyzing the agreement, and most aren’t happy with what they’ve found.
In an article on TechDirt, Mike Masnick described the documents as “a massive mess” and said that it was “worse than we feared” after evaluating the deal, the problems within the documents, and the way in which certain segments were worded and could be interpreted. Masnick also highlighted the bizarre sudden push to make the partnership sound open and transparent by placing it on a platform such as Medium with its own FAQ, despite the fact that the TPP has been conducted in much criticized secrecy since its conception.
Radio host Mark Levin has gone so far as to suggest the TPP deal would “destroy the constitution.” The Huffington post calls it “Another Deadly Trad Deal,” while the Donald has referred to it as “insanity.” Both sides of the aisle seem surprised and disappointed in this bill based on current reporting — its supporters tend to be trade associations and people directly involved in the bill’s completion, along with, of course, President Obama.
The Washington Post responded to the released documents by criticizing their lack of searchability and ability to quickly skip to and find certain parts and keywords, and as such, created their own tool to easily search the TPP, open for the public to use.
I asked Breitbart’s own veteran researcher Will Ross, who identifies as center-left and assisted the non-Partisan group Pro Publica in sorting Super PACs information in 2012 why that’s such a problem. “Basically it’s dropping a metric f**k-ton of paper on people’s heads knowing they’ll never read it all in time to form cogent arguments,” he told me. “Imagine backing a dumptruck up to someone’s desk who’s got a deadline – yeah there’s a 60 day comment period, but you’ll lose half of that just reading the damn thing.”
Now, the 12 countries involved still have to sign and ratify the treaty, where they may reach some resistance despite having support from some pharmaceutical and electronic interests, so who knows if the bill, sometimes referred to as Obamatrade, will ever go into effect. But until the press and America’s politicians are able to sort through the bill and make some sense of it, which they have to do while the clock is running down, the public will have a difficult time educating themselves on the intricacies of the agreement.
Breitbart Tech will keep appraised of the developing situation and bring you additional details as more information comes to light.