20 thoughts on “TTIP, against food safety and environment

  1. Tuesday 3rd May 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    Greenpeace leaks confirm concerns over Eu-Us deal

    SECRET documents drawn up between the EU and the US for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) confirm “grave concerns” over the environment and NHS after they were leaked by Greenpeace yesterday.

    The 248 pages obtained by the environmental action group expose TTIP as an attempt by the US to wield financial control over public sector service — such as healthcare — by smashing state-run “monopolies” in Europe and removing barriers to “liberal trade.”

    The documents unveil for the first time the “deliberate” attempts to enact a “huge transfer of power from people to big business” through the back door, according to Greenpeace.

    Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss said: “We have seen grave concerns for environment and public health confirmed, and invite others with expertise in different areas to download these documents and analyse the impacts of this trade deal.

    “The public has a right to know what is being traded away in their name.”

    There is also widespread worry among EU citizens that corporations can sue and bankrupt governments in secret courts for any loss of profits — real or imagined — under World Trade Organisation rules.

    This would have a crippling effect on governments who would be more likely to yield to corporate interests and contract out services to private firms to avoid paying out vast sums of money.

    The leaked pages, published after the 12th round of TTIP talks last week, also state that more food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will be available for consumption.

    Currently, only one GMO — a maize plant — is available in Europe while 170 are approved for growing in the US for commercial use.

    Also, chickens disinfected with chlorine and cattle pumped with hormones — as allowed in the US — could be sold as meat in the EU.

    Greenpeace also said that the TTIP texts did not mention promises to cut CO2 emissions, as had been agreed at the Paris summit on global warming.

    War on Want executive director John Hilary said: “We have long warned that TTIP is a danger to democracy, food safety, jobs and public services. Now we see it is even worse than we feared.”

    He added: “Total secrecy was the only way the European Commission could keep the European people from learning the truth about these appalling negotiations, and now the cat is out of the bag.”

    Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail called on the government to “secure a robust carve-out” for the NHS in draft TTIP agreements otherwise we “might as well just hand the keys to our hospitals and GP surgeries to US private healthcare.”

    Labour MEPs called for transparency on any TTIP negotiations and praised campaigners, trade unions and NGOs in helping secure more information about the deal.

    Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, the party’s European Parliament spokesperson on TTIP, said: “Secrecy and the perception of secrecy is undermining trade policy and public trust in governments at all levels.”

    She added that EU governments and citizens “simply shouldn’t have to rely on leaks” and that MEPs adopted a report last week which stated that every document relating to TTIP should be public.

    EU officials will only let elected politicians read the secret documents in super-secure bunkers, on condition they don’t tell anyone what they read.

    Global Justice Now trade campaigner Guy Taylor said that the leaks confirms that the “toxic TTIP” is essentially an “enormous corporate power-grab” as had been suspected.

    More than three million people have signed a European Initiative Against TTIP petition against the “sinister” trade deals between the US and EU — as well as Ceta, with Canada.

    13 CHAPTERS ON TTIP LEAKED BY GREENPEACE: WHAT IT COULD MEAN FOR EU

    • The chapter National Treatment and Market Access for Goods states that trade between the two global powers — or parties — should be “harmonised” with downgrading of rules such as the reduction or abolition of custom fees.

    • The section named State-owned Enterprise makes it explicitly clear that each party should make sure that its government agencies and departments dealing with goods and services do not cause financial “injury” to businesses.

    • Agriculture outlines the ways in which the EU and US are polar opposites in their philosophies on cultivating food and keeping livestock. The EU wants the agreement to state that nothing will hamper the promotion and protection of public health, safety, environment, public morals and cultural diversity, but the US considers such measures “trade-distorting” and calls for lower standards of protection that would not effect profit. Examples include the introduction of more food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — 170 are used in the US compared with just one in the EU — and the use of hormones in cattle.

    • Regulatory Co-operation states that rules in both the EU and US should be equal regardless of the issue at stake. Therefore, more stringent market rules in Europe would be revised and loosened as a result.

    • Technical Barriers to Trade already exist as part of the World Trade Organisation agreement, but the TTIP version would allow businesses “unprecedented access” to the rule-making processes such as the labelling of hazardous products.

    • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures refers to efforts to protect food safety and plant and animal health but states that such measures do not create barriers to trade.

    • A section within this chapter called Science and Risk states that the burden of proof on whether a product is safe or not could be shifted to fall on public authorities, not on those who want to sell it. So, a pesticide scientifically linked to cancer could still be approved, unless there is a 100 per cent consensus on its harmful effects. In contrast, current EU rules place the onus on the manufacturer.

    • Dispute Settlement states that the EU and US would provide no guarantee that environmental concerns will be considered even amid disagreements between the parties over measures taken to protect the environment itself.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-3527-Exposed-The-Toxic-TTIP-Truth#.Vypkk-QYMdU

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