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Corporate fingerprints evident in U.S. trade negotiating positions

Minneapolis – Leaked negotiating texts for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) expose the heavy influence of corporate agribusiness in the negotiations, pushing to lower trade restrictions and public health regulations affecting food production, according to analysis of the texts by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). The leaks, released by Greenpeace Netherlands today, provide compelling evidence in support of demands by opponents on both sides of the Atlantic for more democratic and transparent processes in trade negotiations.

Karen Hansen-Kuhn, IATP’s Director of Trade, Technology and Global Governance, noted, “Food and farm groups have been weighing in since the inception of the talks on the rules needed to ensure that efforts to rebuild our food systems from the ground up are not undermined by the trade deal. Instead we see evidence that TTIP is following the lead of multinational corporations: weakening the use of the precautionary principle in setting food and plant safety standards; undermining food labeling rules; and eliminating preferences for local producers in public procurement programs.”

IATP Senior Policy Analyst Steve Suppan commented, “The text shows the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) protecting corporate interests by trying to shield environmental, health and safety data used in TTIP risk assessment as confidential business information, preventing peer scientific review. The end result of the U.S. proposal would be increasing the burden on governments to justify food safety rules while placing no burden on industry to demonstrate that its products—including new kinds of GMOs and food and agri-nanotechnology products—are safe.”

“Our predictions about agriculture in TTIP have sadly been confirmed every step of the way. The EU and the U.S. are busy horse-trading the lives of small dairy and meat producers and processors for car parts and other goods each side is willing to liberalize, said Shefali Sharma, Director of the IATP Europe office. “Many products that are key to local livelihoods and food systems are slated to have duties slashed either immediately, after TTIP comes into force, or in stages. These negotiators are trading off some vulnerable sectors behind closed doors at the expense of farmers and consumers.”

IATP Advisor Sharon Anglin Treat noted that, “The Regulatory Cooperation and Coherence texts proposed by EU and U.S. negotiators confirm both parties are seeking to use this international agreement to reach far into domestic policy decision-making in a way that undermines democratic processes on each side of the Atlantic. This would make it far more difficult to protect consumers, workers and the environment from pesticides and toxic chemicals, or even to inform them about food ingredients.”

IATP has prepared analyses of these issues based on past leaks of draft text, including:

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