more on trade deals & GM standards
The European Union is negotiating the potential future of British agriculture with American corporations, developing deals that, unless tempered, could possibly threaten UK sovereignty
by Samantha Lyster for Fresh Produce Journal
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US is an attempt by both parties to strip away red tape.
The Americans are looking for more freedom to trade in a range of industrial sectors, including agriculture. The NFU recently asked for assessments to be carried out in the areas of meat, eggs, and sugar to ascertain what impact TTIP would have on these sectors.
However, apart from Freshfel, the European fresh produce association, which has been involved with talks on apples and pears, it appears that the EU has not engaged in any talks with UK representatives for the fresh produce industry, although the Fresh Produce Consortium is aware of the negotiations and is monitoring news surrounding them.
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the southwest, claims that emerging information gives UK farmers, especially small-scale operations, great cause for concern. She says that if successful, the agreement could result in the harmonisation of food standards between the EU and GM-friendly US.
“The potential race to the bottom on environmental standards, employment rights and animal welfare is one of the key concerns Greens have about these secretive trade negotiations.
TTIP is a huge threat to hard-fought- for European standards on the quality and safety of our food,” adds Cato. All parties concerned over the negotiations point to the element of the treaty called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS in effect grants multinationals the same legal position as a nation state itself, and allows them to sue sovereign governments in so-called arbitration tribunals on the grounds that their profits are threatened by government policies.