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No avenue for citizen engagement in controversial TPP talks

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 16:07 -- Josh Tabish

This week, members of the OurFairDeal.org Coalition are headed to Ottawa, Canada to be part of the most recent round of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, taking place July 3-11. The negotiators have created no formal way for civil society groups or members of the public to participate in this round of discussions.

The talks were originally set to take place in Vancouver, but, with just under a week to go until the round started, the location was changed to the nation’s capital in Ottawa - nearly 3,500km away.

Members of the OurFairDeal Coalition are concerned that rules proposed in the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the TPP would reduce the ability of everyday people to access information, and seriously hinder innovation both on and offline. The coalition will be on the ground providing expert insights into the effects of the proposed provisions.

Representing the OurFairDeal Coalition will be Burcu Kilic of Public Citizen, Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Reilly Yeo of OpenMedia International. Together, this delegation of experts will brief negotiators on the threat the TPP poses to Internet users, schools, universities, artists, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, the vision-impaired, information technology firms, and Internet businesses.

The upcoming visit to Ottawa could be the last time TPP negotiations will be hosted in Canada, as world leaders are looking to wrap the deal in time for U.S. President Obama’s visit overseas to the Asia Pacific Economic Summit in November. In the meantime, members of civil society and the general public remain keen to be involved in the process as stakeholders in the agreement, as has happened in previous rounds of negotiations that took place in other countries.

In the meantime, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on what we find out, and look forward to continuing our push for negotiators to reject copyright proposals that would restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights. You can learn more about the OurFairDeal Coaliton and sign our petition at OurFairDeal.org