03:59 GMT19 January 2021
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    EU trade expert secretly told a French economics minister that America's Trans-Pacific Partnership seemed designed to provoke a confrontation with China, WikiLeaks reveals.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A European Union (EU) trade expert secretly told a French economics minister that America's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seemed designed to provoke a confrontation with China, according to a US intelligence intercept published on WikiLeaks.

    “[The EU Trade Section head Hiddo] Houben stated [to French Minister-Counselor Jean-Francois Boittin] that the TPP… seems devised as a confrontation with China,” the document, one of seven published by WikiLeaks on Monday, said.

    The TPP is an ambitious trade pact negotiated between the United States and 12 Asian and Pacific Rim nations covering 40 percent of the world economy. The pact excludes China.

    Houben pointed out that Washington was “negotiating with every nation that borders China, asking for commitments that exceed those countries' administrative capacities, so as to ‘confront’ Beijing.”

    Houben then expressed skepticism if the TPP agreement takes ten years to negotiate, “the world — and China — will have changed so much that that country likely will have become disinterested in the process,” making the entire initiative a wasted effort.

    Should the TPP initiative fail, “the US will have no alternative, but to return to the WTO [World Trade Organization],” the document reported Houben as telling the French minister.

    Houben was also highly critical of the US trade negotiating strategy, the document revealed.

    The EU trade expert “assessed that this focus on Asia is added proof that Washington has no real negotiating agenda vis-a-vis emerging nations, including China and Brazil, or an actual, proactive WTO plan of action,” the document said.

    The top secret US documents reveal in great detail a long-running, comprehensive intelligence operation carried out against the French government and all major companies.

    WikiLeaks is an international non-profit journalistic organization founded in Iceland in 2006 to disseminate documents, photos and video of political or social significance, according to the organization’s Facebook page.


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