The secrets behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are slowly leaking out, even though the negotiators have signed an agreement to keep all of its elements secret. Recently, Mark Schultz of the Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Letter learned a few interesting tidbits about the potential deal.

“One thing we have learned about the TPP is that it will contain something called “regulatory coherence.” That’s a benign-sounding term that would have major adverse impacts on critical issues that the Land Stewardship Project members care about.”

“For Example, TPP may allow countries and even foreign corporations to challenge the use of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), which was passed by Congress 12 years ago. COOL requires identifying the source of meat products, something the majority of consumers and farmers support. International agribusinesses oppose COOL and would love to use TPP to get rid of it”.

The blindfold of secrecy is not being pulled over everyone’s eyes.  The people whose lives would be affected by the policy cannot read its text, but at least 600 “advisers” to the negotiating teams also work for corporate agribusiness. Their influence will help tailor the agreement so as to fatten their own pockets.

Is Country of Origin Labeling the only consequence that regulatory coherence will have? If a participating country decided to label products made with GMO crops so that consumers could make informed decisions about their purchases, would regulatory coherence also overrule that policy? It’s clear that TPP will endanger both public safety and democracy.

The TPP negotiators are pushing to complete the agreement and to ratify it by the end of the year. If their secrecy is effective, we may not have answers to any of our questions until it’s too late.