The U.S. Trade Representative issued a release just prior to the launch of the New Zealand round of ACTA negotiations that has left no doubt that the U.S. is the biggest barrier to official release of the ACTA text. The full text of the release is couched in terms of improving transparency, but is really a thinly-veiled shot at the European Union's public demands for release of the text. The U.S. statement:
"In this upcoming round of ACTA negotiations, the U.S. delegation will be working with other delegations to resolve some fundamental issues, such as the scope of the intellectual property rights that are the focus of this agreement. Progress is necessary so that we can prepare to release a text that will provide meaningful information to the public and be a basis for productive dialogue. We hope that enough progress is made in New Zealand in clearing brackets from the text so that participants can be in a position to reach a consensus on sharing a meaningful text with the public."
Note what the U.S. is actually saying – resolving scope of the treaty (the E.U. is seeking a broader scope that includes patents) and removing square brackets (the sources of disagreement) is needed to reach consensus on sharing text with the public. Yet there is no reason to link ACTA transparency with the substance of the treaty. The text of the treaty can be released without regard for the level of agreement on substantive issues. Yet unlike most other ACTA countries that have called for transparency without condition, the U.S. has set conditions that effectively seeks to trade its willingness to release the text for gains on the substance of the text. The only thing needed to reach consensus on sharing the text with the public is for the U.S. to give the go-ahead. This statement indicates they will only do so for a price.