Tagged: Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

International trade agreements and the future of food safety

Valley Farm, West Wratting

Photo by Andrew Stawarz via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Yesterday, Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association analyzed at AlterNet the possible effects of two international trade agreements currently in the works. As they explain,

Designed to grease the wheels of world commerce, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would force the U.S. and other participating countries to “harmonize” food safety standards. That means all countries that sign on to the agreement would be required to abide by the lowest common denominator standards of all participating governments….

Both the TTIP and TPP could have dangerous consequences for food safety in the U.S., and around the world…. From day one, negotiations for the TTIP and TPP have been shrouded in secrecy. The public and participating governments, including the U.S. Congress, have been shut out of the negotiating process, denied access to everything from early proposals to final draft texts….

If the public is shut out, and Congress gets no say, who gets a seat at the table? Corporations. That’s right.

The article is written with the urgency of folks who care deeply about the state of our food supply; even though the rhetoric gets a bit heated at times, it makes for pretty compelling reading. Find the full piece here.

Finally, lest you doubt Paul and Cummins’ analysis that these agreements favor corporations, see what the folks at The Economist had to say in this op-ed from February:

[A]s the cautious Mr Obama’s willingness to gamble on this shows, the best time to push [for the TTIP] is now. Some of the most obstreperous lobbies have been giving ground. The EU recently opened its market to imports of live pigs and certain types of treated beef from America, suggesting that it may at last be possible to make progress on trade in genetically modified products…. The only reason for business not to throw everything it has behind TTIP would be if there were a bigger global trade pact to be had. Sadly, there is not. Done properly, a US-EU deal could even create a bit of momentum for other pacts, including agreements with Asian trading partners. And that potentially might lead to a new round of global trade talks.

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