Prepared by Lillian Grosz, CAGJ Volunteer
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a secretive regional free trade/investor rights initiative led by the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, with an open-docking clause allowing for additional countries to join. In theory, the TPP seeks to increase trade in the region by opening up markets and reducing barriers to trade. The 15th round of negotiations will take place on December 3-12, 2012, in Auckland, New Zealand. Participants aim to conclude negotiations by the end of 2013.
1) Farmers are not at the table: access to meetings and materials are limited to officials and corporate stakeholders, despite widespread protests over the lack of public transparency.
2) U.S agricultural representatives are predominantly Big-Ag supporters, including Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, and Walmart.
3) The chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. is a former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui.
4) Under investor protection measures in the TPP, Big-Ag corporations can take countries to court for trying to control the kinds of food they import (in a recent example, Mexico was ordered to pay Cargill $95 million dollars for blocking high-fructose corn syrup).
5)Domestic/State Food safety standards can also be contested as barriers to trade, causing some nations, like New Zealand, to worry that they will be forced to lower their standards under the TPP.
6)The U.S. seeks to impose ‘voluntary’ GMO labeling protocols on New Zealand, where GM labeling is currently mandatory.
7)The US Trade Representative is pressuring countries including Japan and Korea to accept higher levels of pesticide residues in their produce.
8)The TPP free trade agreement would increase risks to food safety in the U.S. as well; the “equivalence rule” in similar agreements have forced the U.S. to permit sub-standard meat product imports, even while the FDA faces criticisms at home from the GAO, who stated that the agency needs to step up their food safety regulation systems.
9) Following a similar trend to that of NAFTA, which displaced millions of corn farmers, the TPP is expected to flood markets with cheap products, increasing pressures on small farmers to grow cash crops, migrate to cities, and cross borders to survive.
10) A TPP free trade agreement will impact all levels of the food system, from the growers, to the markets distributing the food; from the quality of the food available to consumers, to the ability of governments to protect and be held accountable to their people
GET INVOLVED! Contact CAGJ & the Washington Fair Trade Coalition to join our actions to stop the TPP!
CAGJ: Trade Justice Project: firstname.lastname@example.org
WFTC: Kristen Beifus – email@example.com
Original post: http://www.seattleglobaljustice.org/2012/11/10-reasons-why-food-justice-activists-should-care-about-the-tpp/