October 14, 2020 | News | No Comments
An EU-U.S. trade deal currently being negotiated behind closed doors puts corporate profits and trade interests above fair and safe food for consumers, a trio of groups charged Wednesday.
Friends of the Earth Europe, Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), and UK-based Compassion in World Farming outline their concerns in a letter (pdf) sent to EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht because, they write, “the European Commission has failed fully to appreciate European and US civil society concerns.”
The letter begins:
Sparking their warning was a draft (pdf) of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) chapter on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues, which covers food safety measures and animal welfare in the trade deal, leaked last month by IATP.
In his analysis of that leaked text, IATP’s Dr. Steve Suppan wrote that though the chapter “doesn’t tell us everything about where negotiations are headed on food safety, […] it tells us enough to raise serious concerns.”
Among these concerns is that if the TTIP is implemented, the import re-inspection at port of entry would no longer happen because the U.S and EU food safety systems would be recognized as “equivalent,” which, for example, could inadvertently allow genetically modified agricultural products into the EU food supply. From the letter:
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The groups stress that the emphasis on “least trade restrictive” measures stated in the draft “will continue to put agribusinesses in the driving seat.” They continue:
The letter concludes by urging more transparency in what have so far been secretive trade negotiations that appear to be working for corporations rather than public interest.
“European concerns that the free trade agreement with the USA would undermine public safeguards were scoffed at by the Commissioner in charge of the negotiations. Now leaked documents show that the public has every right to be concerned,” said Adrian Bebb, food, agriculture and biodiversity campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, in a statement issued Thursday. “Behind closed doors, negotiators appear to be dismantling Europe’s food safety net in order to allow big business to make more profits.”