Vietnam News, 3 June 2015. Pacific deal may add 30% to GDP.

The Guardian, 2 June 2015. Australian MPs allowed to see top-secret trade deal text but can’t reveal contents for four years.

Below are edited extracts of the two articles.

Pacific deal may add 30% to GDP, Vietnam News

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement is expected to add 30 per cent to Viet Nam’s GDP over the next 10 years, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs said at a press briefing held in HCM City last week.

Charles H. Rivkin said Viet Nam had the smallest economy among 12 countries that are negotiating the terms of the TPP agreement, and that if approved, the TPP would allow Viet Nam to grow further by integrating into global supply chains.

Rivkin said US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry wanted to complete the TPP agreement within their office terms.

“I cannot give specific times on signing this agreement but negotiations have made positive and significant progress, and we hope it will be finished by the end of the year,” he said.

The US could wrap up negotiations over the TPP agreement soon if the Congress approves Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), he said…


Australian MPs allowed to see top-secret trade deal text but can’t reveal contents for four years, The Guardian

Australian politicians have been told they can view the current confidential negotiating text for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, but only if they agree not to divulge anything they see for four years, despite expectations the deal could be finalised within months.

As 10 years of highly secret negotiations over the 12-nation trade and investment pact draw to a close and the US Congress debates whether to grant president Barack Obama fast-track authority, MPs and senators were briefed on the deal Monday night by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade assistant secretary Elizabeth Ward and other officials.

The MPs were told that, despite the negotiations being “in the final stages” and “at the end game”, key provisions had not been agreed – including intellectual property clauses of deep concern to the Australian government and controversial legal avenues for corporations to take action against governments – so-called investor state dispute settlements (ISDS). They were also told the ISDS process itself was still being negotiated, including provisions on transparency.

They were told they could view the current TPP negotiating text on Tuesday “subject to certain confidentiality requirements” and were shown a document they would be required to sign before any viewing.

The document listed requirements which it said were “consistent with the undertaking by Australia and other negotiating partners to treat negotiating texts and other documents exchanged in the course of negotiations as confidential government information in order to facilitate candid and productive negotiations”…

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