back to article TPP: 'Scary' US-Pacific trade deal published – you're going to freak out when you read it

The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been revealed, after seven years of negotiations and following formal approval last month. The text was first published by the government of New Zealand, but was swiftly followed by the United States government, which has uploaded it across a number of websites and in …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: Source code

    Why would the TTIP be substantially different from the TTP if both are about America writing the rules of the road? The US can now say to the EU that other half of the road^Wworld does it this way.

  2. the spectacularly refined chap

    Re: Source code

    The term basically means that you as a (powerful, e.g. state) customer cannot demand to see the source code for an executable as a precondition of importing/purchasing the product. This is aimed at protecting valuable know-how etc in code.

    No, the obligation is to each Party, i.e. each country that signs up. Nothing prevents a customer demanding source as a condition of sale, even if the potential customer is the state itself - sale is covered but not purchase. The net effect is that signatory countries can't simply say "OK if you want to sell that in our market you need to give us the source.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: Source code

    ... which brings us back to VW... Countries will not be able to demand the source to the engine management software as part of the pre-sales certification process.

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Joke

    Re: Source code

    "The US can now say to the EU that other half of the road^Wworld does it this way."

    We like to be contrary here in the UK. That's why we drive on the other side of the road!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @ hplasm

    Much worse than simply 'offensive'.

    Without source code there is no way to detect spyware. Anybody wishing to use software, of any sort, for an important, secure application, should only use open source software. That's a minimum requirement.

    It isn't necessarily a sufficient requirement, of course, even with the source code you may not find the malware and trapdoors.

  6. Ben Liddicott

    Re: Source code

    No. Parties are governments. Persons of parties are individuals or companies. So this says:

    No government shall require .. source code owned by an individual or government, as a condition of import, sale, use or distribution.

    It just means they can't refuse to allow it to be sold, they can't refuse to allow it to be imported, distributed or used. It doesn't mean they can't make it a condition of buying it themselves. Nor does it mean that vendors can't make it a condition of selling it.

    So governments can mandate open source for their own internal use. Companies and individuals can mandate open source for their own use, and enforce open source licences. But governments cannot mandate open source for companies or individuals in their country, except for critical infrastructure.

    It doesn't ban open source. it prevents governments from banning non-open-source.

  7. Vic

    Re: Source code

    No government shall require .. source code owned by an individual or government, as a condition of import, sale, use or distribution.

    That still prevents government redistribution of GPL code. And that is unnecessary.

    It doesn't mean they can't make it a condition of buying it themselves.

    It absolutely does mean that. It might not have meant ot mean that, but it does anyway.

    It doesn't ban open source. it prevents governments from banning non-open-source.

    That is not the case, even if it were the original intention.

    Vic.

  8. DanceMan

    Re: Source code @ Intractable Potsherd

    Precisely what you wrote.

    Following labour contract negotiations for a component of Expo 86, some of us were so impressed by the negotiator we were dealing with that we subsequently took a negotiation course from his partner. One thing they told us was not to write new contract language, but to use existing clauses that had been arbitrated. They said you cannot predict how it will be interpreted until a court has ruled on it.

    It's something to keep in mind in light of this debate over source code, particularly for those assuring us the TPP is benign.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what i would want to know

    Is, if I were an Australian widget maker, does the treaty make it simpler for me to export and sell my widgets in Canada?

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: what i would want to know

    Answer:

    Only if said widgets are sent to the USA (Say some tiny port in LA) and then trucked to Canada. Can't have those Teamster Union jobs going 'north' or 'south'....

    The real answer is no it won't, It will benfit the American maker of those widgets.

    This whole treaty is for the sole benefit of US Corps (Especially the mega corps and hollywood).

    This is just a foretaste of what is to come with the TTIP.

    I forsee a big push by the Anti-EU mob (US Megacorps) to get little old blighty out of the EU so that we will be the US bridgehead in their takeover attempt for Europe. Sounds familar? WW2 perhaps?

    Personally I hope the EU Court has the balls to nullify it outright but my plot of land on an island in the Indian Oveal suddenly looks mightily inviting.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It all depends on which direction that you are coming from.

    "The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century."

    Theres the first problem right there

  12. LaeMing
    Black Helicopters

    Where we're going, we don't need roads!

  13. hplasm Silver badge
    Devil

    Where we're going, we don't need roads!

    Just a handbasket...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet the Eu deal has similar language

    the fact that signatories must allow for the cross-border sharing of data in electronic form is in all likelihood a good thing.

    Well, the EU (as per ECJ opinion) begs to differ. I suspect this will shortly run into local privacy legislation in some of the pacific countries too, resulting to a legal challenge to the deal.

  15. Tom 13

    Re: Well, the EU (as per ECJ opinion) begs to differ.

    I'm not sure how the EU charter is drawn up, but that ECJ opinion might be moot if the Treaty is adopted.

    Here in the US, once a treaty is signed by the President and adopted by the Senate, it is the Law of the Land and subordinate ONLY to the Constitution (and even that is questionable, some claim it becomes incorporated into the Constitution). So all those local regs are just some much bulldozer fodder. And if the treaty is incorporated, it could invalidate the protections as that was an interpretation which has now been superseded by the treaty.

  16. Uffish

    Re: Here in the US

    Well, here in the EU we shall no doubt be looking at how the TPP cookie crumbles before signing a possible EU - US Trade pact.

  17. drexciya
    Thumb Down

    Another site disagrees

    Well, given all the legalese and other texts that have been made intentionally unreadable by lawyers and their ilk, I'll check some other sides for their view. The following site doesn't seem to agree at all with The Register's interpretation; http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/11/full-text-of-tpp-including-annexes-and-boy-is-it-nasty.html

    Some of the highlights:

    Access to medicines will be rolled back.

    Environmental treaties of the past years will effectively be rolled back.

    Privacy concerns.

    More scope for ISDS lawsuits.

    Restrictions on food safety laws and regulations.

    Now tell me how this is just a trade treaty and this is somehow good for the world?

  18. SolidSquid

    Re: Another site disagrees

    Worth mentioning that the review wasn't done by Naked Capitalism, but rather they've based their article on a press release by Public Citizen, who actually have lawyers on staff who deal with this kind of thing and would be better placed to review it than journalists generally would

  19. drexciya

    Re: Another site disagrees

    Correct, and it's a testament to them that they manage to get out a comprehensive review of the papers in such a short period.

  20. Tom 13

    Re: Another site disagrees

    I often get the feeling that this particular Reg author gets a second paycheck from The Big 0 whenever he writes a column.

  21. Tom 13

    Re: comprehensive review of the papers in such a short period.

    I wouldn't count on that. I expect they've had copies of the relevant portions for a while. So they probably had time to write the review but kept it embargoed until it the TPP text was released.

  22. alain williams Silver badge

    7 years of negotiations, 60 days to review

    What is the rush ? If it took so long to agree the final version why so short a time for everyone else to come up to speed? Obama is giving reviewers 1/43 of the time that it took to cook this up. What is he hoping that we will not notice ?

    Oh, note that 60 days includes time off for Xmas; so in reality less time than that.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 7 years of negotiations, 60 days to review

    "Oh, note that 60 days includes time off for Xmas; so in reality less time than that."

    It better not include time off for Xmas, that's discrimination in favour of one particular sky fairy over others ....

  24. Tom 13

    Re: 7 years of negotiations, 60 days to review

    Not just Christmas, Thanksgiving too. Most of us 'Merkins treat Thanksgiving as a 4 day holiday and that's the working class. Govies tend to have the whole week off, and the politicians even more.

    Another consideration, govies tend to have "use or lose" time accumulated at the end of the year. So it isn't uncommon for some of them make the last Friday before Thanksgiving their last work day for the year.

  25. Martin 47

    Cos all those pitchforks you bought will go to waste

    I don't think so

  26. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Too many secrets

    So we shouldn't be afraid of TTIP because it's going to be a good deal for Britain?

    No offence to El Reg, but I'd rather have someone with a solid knowledge of international law and economics read and summarize this for me.

    On a related note, any bets whether Tim's next piece will be about this?

  27. Intractable Potsherd

    Tim doesn't write for El Reg any more (he was "let go" a couple of weeks ago). However, he will no doubt have some comments on his blog: http://www.timworstall.com/.

  28. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    That somehow slipped by me completely... thanks for the info!

  29. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Joke

    "Tim doesn't write for El Reg any more (he was "let go" a couple of weeks ago). However, he will no doubt have some comments on his blog: http://www.timworstall.com/."

    I suspect Tim will tell it like it is. This article smells a bit of "puff piece". And Tim was "let go" just weeks before. Coincidence? I'm investing in tinfoil!!!

    Icon because...well, someone is bound to think I was serious. Probably the same one who won't read this far.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was Tim the anarcho-capitalist one?

  31. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Aren't they all?

  32. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    I'm left libertarian, so I'm a social democrat with a strong belief in civil liberties and a massive distaste for authoritarianism, rather than anarcho-capitalist. For whatever little that is worth.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TPP and TIPP

    Just america forcing what it wants and its laws and requirements on the rest of the world.

  34. Tom 13
    Flame

    Re: TPP and TIPP

    We don't want this $hite sandwhich any more than you do.

  35. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    'From a purely US perspective, the best pitch for the deal comes from President Obama who summed it up thus: "The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century.'

    From a US perspective it might sound like a pitch. From everyone else's it just sounds like pitch.

  36. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Well, I think Kissinger once said something along the lines of 'nations don't have friends, nations have interests'.

  37. Tom 13

    @allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I sure hope you're one of my uneducated brethren giving inadvertent offense to our British friends. Because if you're Brit you need to be deported post haste for making such a hash of one of the more famous quotes of Lord Palmerston.

  38. graeme leggett Silver badge

    Re: @allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    This quote ?

    "I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow"

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "so you may want to wait for others to provide summaries."

    Yes, cos your's is shite.

  40. silent_count

    Re: "so you may want to wait for others to provide summaries."

    Charming. So when can we expect to read yours AC?

  41. Green Nigel 42
    Big Brother

    TPP Point

    Read your review, so apart from Foriegn Corporations being able to run rough shot over Sovereignty and democratically arrived at environmental, safety standards, food standards, gradually force nationalised strategic services such as health care into a privatisation, energy policies that prevent unpopular power generation being built, such as nuclear and so on, the TPP looks like nothing to be upset about, can't wait for TIPP

    Right off to the hardware shop, " I want four candles please".

  42. cortland

    No Party Shall Require?

    WRT "No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale, or use of such software" then, if it means what it says, it prevents looking at the source code to detect (for example) BIOS malware, backdoors and other interesting stuff.

  43. graeme leggett Silver badge

    Re: No Party Shall Require?

    I read that as meaning the state cannot make it a requirement (and so block its use?) not that individuals can't.

  44. Tom 13

    @graeme leggett

    That so many people can read it so many different ways is the worst damnation for the paragraph.

    The worst part is, I expect all attempts to clarify this paragraph in an acceptable manner will be akin to nailing jello to the wall.

  45. Vic

    Re: No Party Shall Require?

    I read that as meaning the state cannot make it a requirement (and so block its use?) not that individuals can't.

    Generally speaking, if the lawyers have used a particular word, they have a reason for it. They could have said "state". They said "party"...

    Vic.

  46. graeme leggett Silver badge

    Re: No Party Shall Require?

    A signatory to a treaty is the 'party' to it. (though I've seen the phrase "contracting power" used in the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the Treaty of Rome uses "High contracting parties")

    As the parties to this treaty are states, the meaning is close enough for general discussion.

  47. Vic

    Re: No Party Shall Require?

    the meaning is close enough for general discussion.

    When it comes to legal disputes, that sort of thinking is always problematic.

    When there is a *trivial* phrasing that removes all doubt, and another that involves any amount of ambiguity, why would someone specifically trained in contract law choose the more ambiguous?

    Vic.

  48. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Even Fox News is better than this drivel

    It is about time that Kieren McCarthy went back to one of the very right wing US "think tanks" (or kindergarten!!)

    Given that this is a 2000 page document - the only analysis that could have been done at this point is one done by the drafters who - to put it mildly - have a vested interest. This Reg article is obviously a rework of a bit of PR spin from the drafters. I would not expect to see a serious analysis in less than a week.

    As has been pointed out by another commentator, this treaty would make it illegal for a country to demand (for example) access to Microsoft source code (for the purpose of finding NSA backdoors) before allowing it to be sold. It would also make many medicines much more expensive than they should be once they come out of patent protection.

  49. Tom 13

    Re: one of the very right wing US "think tanks"

    you need to put down the water pipe filled with stuff that isn't legal in Amsterdam. Kieren would NEVER find employment at a RIGHTWING think tank. The HuffPuffer or Daily Kool-Aid drinkers perhaps.

  50. Zolko

    Simplifying ?

    "The deal is long and complex: it stretches to 2,000 pages and is written in largely technical and legal language, making quick analysis difficult."

    directly contradicts:

    "It's about simplifying trade rules between countries."

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