Report: Germany to Reject EU-Canada Trade Deal

BERLIN — Reuters / The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Jul. 26 2014, 8:17 AM EDT 

Germany is to reject a multi-billion free trade deal between the European Union and Canada which is widely seen as a template for a bigger agreement with the United States, a leading German paper reported on Saturday.

Citing diplomats in Brussels, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Berlin objects to clauses outlining the legal protection offered to firms investing in the 28-member bloc. Critics say they could allow investors to stop or reverse laws.  Continue reading

Trade Matters: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—Impacts on Food and Farming

Center for Food Safety Report Warns TTIP Could Undermine Critical Food Safety and Environmental Regulations

May 14th, 2014

CFS International Programs Director to Brief Congress

Center for Food Safety (CFS) today released a report examining the potential food and farming impacts of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a broad trade agreement currently under negotiation by the United States and the European Union. CFS international programs director, Debbie Barker, will present the report to Congress at a briefing scheduled for May 15, 2014.  Ms. Barker will speak at 10:00 am at 2237 Rayburn House Office Building.

Download the report: Trade Matters: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—Impacts on Food and Farming.

European Union trade negotiators will arrive in Arlington, Virginia, next week (May 19-23) to begin the fifth round of TTIP talks.  Although TTIP negotiations cover a vast range of issues, food safety and regulatory standards are among the most contentious topics.  Food and farm issues being negotiated under TTIP include: GE cropsGE labelinganimal drugs and hormonesanimal welfare, livestock antibioticschemically washed poultry,nanotechnology, and other issues. 

“Many people don’t know that these secret negotiations may undermine efforts on both sides of the Atlantic to protect our food, our health, and our environment,” said Debbie Barker, international program director at Center for Food Safety. “Trade agreements, such as TTIP, profoundly impact our food and our farms. Education is the first step toward participation.”

The CFS report also examines the “highly undemocratic, non-transparent TTIP negotiating process.”  Additionally, it explores how powerful enforcement mechanisms, such as investor-state provisions, can leap frog over domestic food and public health regulations.

Download the report here.

Little discussed is how agricultural trade policies impact food, the environment, and society.  For example, a few decades ago, most food was grown primarily for local populations.  However, today, the average plate of food travels 1500 miles before landing on your dinner table. This contributes to major environmental crises of our time including global warming and also impacts food safety and rural economies.  Another example, when the North American Free Trade Association opened the door to a flood of highly subsidized U.S. corn imports into Mexico, nearly 2.5 million Mexicans dependent on farms lost their livelihoods. As a result, immigration rates into the U.S. spiked as Mexican farmers and laborers came to the United States in search of work.

“What industry and trade officials often refer to as ‘trade barriers’ are actually democratically crafted food safety and public health safeguards,”  added Barker.  “Those of us concerned about the food we feed our families must get involved before it is too late.”

Ms. Debbie Barker will be speaking at a Congressional briefing on TTIP on May 15, 2014, at 10 a.m. in 2237 Rayburn House Office Building. She will be educating members of Congress and their staff about the trade negotiations’ impact on food and farming before the fifth round of  TTIP talks scheduled to begin in the Washington D.C. area May 19 – May 23, 2014. 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Terrible for Public Health

Posted: 04/08/2014 12:25 pm EDT Updated: 04/08/2014 12:25 pm EDT

By Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Co-chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus

Fifteen years ago, basic AIDS drugs cost more than $10,000 per person per year. Many of the people who needed them most — especially those living in poor countries — couldn’t pay. Millions died before public health advocates persuaded the U.S. and other governments to act — not because needed medicine didn’t exist, but because those who needed it couldn’t afford it.

Things began to change in 2001, when an Indian generic medicine firm called Cipla introduced a dollar-a-day AIDS drug cocktail. President Bush, to his great credit, created a phenomenally successful global AIDS relief program not long after. Countless lives have been saved since. Continue reading

A Matter of Life and Death

SouthViews, No. 103, 8 April 2014, www.southcentre.int

By Martin Khor

Of all the issues currently being negotiated on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, none are more important than the ability of patients to get life-saving medicines at affordable prices, which many fear may be a victim of the agreement.

If you or some family members or friends suffer from cancer, hepatitis, AIDs, asthma or other serious ailments, it’s worth your while to follow the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations, now going on in Singapore.

It’s really a matter of life and death. For the TPPA can cut off the potential supply of cheaper generic medicines that can save lives, especially when the original branded products are priced so sky-high that very few can afford them.

The fight for cheaper medicines has moved to cancer and other deadly diseases, when once the controversy was over AIDS medicines.

Recently, a cancer specialist in New Zealand (one of the TPPA counties) warned that the TPPA would prolong the high cost of treating breast cancer because of new rules to protect biotechnology-based cancer drugs from competition from generics. And this will affect the lives of cancer patients. Continue reading

CWA On-Line Action Kit to Stop Fast Track and the TPP

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to turn on US Fast Track fight: See Online Action Kit here.

“Trade” Deal Would Elevate Corporations to Equal Status with Nation States

By , Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, originally posted 10/22/2013 1:24 pm, Huff Post

The United States and European Union (EU) are in closed-door negotiations to establish a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) that would elevate individual corporations to equal status with nation states. Seriously.

The pact is slated to include a foreign investor privileges scheme that would empower foreign corporations to bypass domestic laws and courts and demand taxpayer compensation for government actions or policies to safeguard clean air, safe food and stable banks.  Continue reading

Stop Fast Track Authority for Trans Pacific Trade Deal

By Bill Waren, originally posted Oct. 17, 2013 / Friends of the Earth

In collaboration with Republicans in Congress, the Obama administration is expected to soon seek so-called Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority legislation in order to facilitate ratification in 2014 of a Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal that would gut environmental and climate protections. If you have a chance to talk to your member of Congress, consider asking for a “NO” vote on the Fast Track bill and drive home two points: (1) Fast Track guts congressional authority; and (2) Fast Track will allow the U.S. Trade Representative and the House Republicans to ram the disastrous TPP trade agreement through Congress.  Continue reading