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    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah gives an opening remark on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    US Republicans Block Bill on Public Disclosure of Trade Deal Details

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    Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has blocked legislation proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts that would require public disclosure of the text of trade deal legislation prior to assigning it "fast-track" status, The Hill reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Warren's legislation would require that the details of international trade deals be made public before it is decided by government whether the process of approval will be sped up, or fast-tracked. The contested process of fast-tracking a trade deal would modify the requirement for passage by Congress to a simple majority vote and remove the possibility of any modification or amendment by lawmakers.

    The Warren bill would complicate current ongoing negotiations for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, as the US administration has claimed that fast-track status is a key condition for passage of the hotly-disputed agreement.

    Currently the Senate is considering an alternate Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill that would require the US president to reveal the text of any trade deal 60 days before signing it, but, unlike the Warren bill, would fast-track trade deals automatically. Hatch suggested that politicians unhappy with the high level of secrecy surrounding the TPP negotiations should support the TPA bill.

    "Those who oppose TPA and trade agreements outright will likely continue to use the supposed lack of transparency as an excuse to oppose the bill," Hatch said as quoted by The Hill on Thursday.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a highly-controversial proposed regional regulatory and investment treaty currently being negotiated in extraordinary secrecy. Its stated aim is to enhance trade and investment among the twelve Pacific Rim countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Opponents claim that the treaty is designed to primarily benefit multinational corporations at the expense of the sovereign rights of countries and citizens worldwide.

    Earlier in May, during a visit to the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Washington and Tokyo are closely working out their differing viewpoints on the TPP deal.


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