Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) opposed the nomination of Michael Froman as the U.S. Trade Representative during a speech on Wednesday, citing concerns about the position’s lack of transparency.
“Many people are deeply interested in tracking the trajectory of trade negotiations, but if they do not have reasonable access to see the terms of the agreements under negotiation, then they can’t have real input,” Warren said in prepared remarks. “Without transparency, the benefits from an open marketplace of ideas are reduced enormously.”
Warren expressed particular concern about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying the Trade Representative has been “unwilling” to provide the public with details of the negotiations. She pointed to arguments by some that transparency “would undermine the Trade Representative’s policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant.”
“In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it,” Warren said. “This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.”
Warren pointed to questions posed to Froman on his position on additional transparency, saying Froman would not provide more transparency on “what information is made to the trade office’s outside advisors.”
“I am voting against Mr. Froman’s nomination later today because I believe we need a new direction from the Trade Representative — a direction that prioritizes transparency and public debate,” Warren said. “The American people have the right to know more about the negotiations that will have dramatic impact on the future of the American economy.”