Makes me blood boil….meetings were supposed to be in Vancouver but they moved claiming it would save 150K LOL

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Citizens’ group concerned about secrecy around Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks in Ottawa

The Council of Canadians, a concerned citizens’ group, is sounding the alarm over what it says is too much government secrecy on a round of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks currently being held in Ottawa.

Trade officials from the 12 TPP countries are meeting behind closed doors in Ottawa from July 3 to 12. It’s believed at least some of the talks are being held at the John G. Diefenbaker Building — the old Ottawa city hall — which houses the federal government’s International Trade offices.

Like most trade talks, the meetings are not open to the public, but the Council of Canadians says the government has barely even acknowledged the talks are being held in Ottawa. The council is questioning why there is so much secrecy around the latest round of negotiations.

The activist citizens’ group planned a briefing Monday for the general public, media and anyone else interested to “alleviate confusion arising from the Canadian hosts’ excessive secrecy.” The group is frustrated there will not be a stakeholder consultation process during the latest round of talks.

“Even the most basic information about negotiations is being withheld by the Canadian hosts,” the Council of Canadians said Monday in a written advisory.

The Council of Canadians also questions why the meetings, which were initially planned for Vancouver, were moved to Ottawa. The group wonders if the government was worried about possible protests and was trying to keep the meeting under wraps as much as possible.

The federal government, however, says the 10 days worth of meetings were moved to Ottawa because it saved more than $150,000 in costs.

There are no ministerial meetings occurring on the sidelines of the talks in Ottawa.

The various TPP lead negotiators and working groups are discussing many, but not all, chapters of the negotiations, including: intellectual property (IP) working group that will meet from July 7-10, investment from July 6-8, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) from July 9-12, and rules of origin (ROOs) meeting July 3-7.

The TPP — which currently includes Canada, the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — represents a market of 792 million people and a combined $27.5 trillion in GDP, representing nearly 40 per cent of the global economy.

U.S. President Barack Obama had initially hoped to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2013, but it’s now looking likely that an agreement won’t be completed until some time in 2015.



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