5 Jul 2012

US Democrats call for easing of trade talk secrecy

1:18 pm on 5 July 2012

Lawmakers in the United States are calling for the lifting of some of the secrecy surrounding trade talks involving 11 Pacific Rim countries, including New Zealand.

Democrats in the US House of Representatives have written to the US Trade Representative asking to know more about what is being negotiated in the TransPacific Partnership.

The 130 Democrats who signed the letter make up nearly two-thirds of the party's membership in the House.

The letter calls for more detail to be provided to congressional committees with jurisdiction over the matters being discussed in the TransPacific Partnership talks.

The talks cover trade rules relating to access to American markets for agricultural products to property rights for its pharmaceutical companies and film studios.

Critics of the talks in New Zealand have also called for more details to be made public but business groups say to do so could jeopardise this country's negotiating position.