After public interest groups managed to ascertain the location of most recent round of Trans-Pacific FTA talks, (which is a massive feat unto itself as the locations are being kept secret and in other rounds have relocated at the last minute) and reserve a space in the same hotel for an open briefing on the agreement by civil society orgs, and were thoughtful to invite all participating delegations including USTR (a courtesy they do not extend to civil society), an hour after the invitation was sent out, the Sofitel LA canceled their reservation. While the hotel maintained the cancellation was due to ‘a confidential group in house ‘ causing them to ‘not be allowing any other groups in the meeting space that day,’ when activists called to reserve space on the same day and time for another event unrelated to TPP-they were allowed to book.

Despite this run-around activists in LA, San Diego and Beverley Hills pulled off a series of events rallies and forums. See:

Click here for wonderful overview of TP-FTA negotiating process

As negotiation rounds gather momentum and interim rounds seek to speed up progress on sticky issues such as Intellectual Property and Labor Standards…Japan and Canada are willing to put it all on the table for the US and the other 8 countries to let them in…..

High on the list of US demands is that Japan end regulations that keep American cars out of the Japanese market (such as emissions standards and support of their own auto industry) and eliminate tariffs on rice and other agricultural imports (hurting their domestic agriculture). Unclear how this strategy will help Japan revive its flagging manufacturing sector.

As for Canada, their ‘must-do’ list to get into the TP-FTA is not yet public but they do have a lot of protections on their dairy and poultry products and restrictions on foreign investment in banks, telecommunications firms, cultural industries and airlines. And will of course, Canada will be expected to harmonize intellectual-property laws.