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White House releases full text of controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership

White House releases full text of controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership

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The White House has released the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major international trade agreement that has drawn criticism for years. The 30-chapter document was posted on both Medium and the Office of the United States Trade Representative's site this morning, a month after representatives from the US and 11 other countries reached an agreement on it. It's the first official look we've gotten at the TPP, but not the first time we've seen the text: multiple leaked versions have made their way online since 2011, several posted by hacktivist organization WikiLeaks.

The TPP covers many areas of trade, but it's primarily controversial among internet activists because of its intellectual property rules, which could affect everything from software to pharmaceuticals. Based on drafts, it would require signatories to adopt elements of the particularly strict US intellectual property framework, and organizations like the EFF argue that it would result in even harsher rules. The debate is similar to the one over ACTA, an earlier failed trade agreement that focused specifically on creating broader and harsher intellectual property rules.

As with ACTA, the problem is that the TPP's text and meetings have been kept secret until now, making it difficult to have an informed public discussion — until now. Now that the US has tentatively agreed to the deal, Congress has at least 90 days to examine and vote on it before sending it to President Obama for a final approval.