Agriculture & Food

TWN FTA Info: The TPPA provides for illegal GMO contamination of our food

Lin & Ching, Third World Network (16 December 2015)
[Summary] Provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) provide for the contamination of our food supply with unapproved and illegal genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The intention of Article 2.29 on ‘Trade of Products of Modern Biotechnology’ is to ensure market access and uninterrupted trade for GMOs. The procedural actions set out within, particularly when ‘low level presence’ (LLP) occurs, are of lower standard than international norms, including the legally-binding Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. How Malaysia will implement these at the national level is now an open question, especially in the face of continued pressure by GMOexporting TPPA countries…

Two New Reports Show Trans-Pacific Partnership has Major Agricultural, Labor and Environmental Deficiencies

National Farmers Union, USA (4 December 2015).
[Extract] Several major deficiencies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact (TPP) – including failure to address currency manipulation or set in place adequate labor and environmental standards – are clear evidence that passage of this pact would hurt American food processors, family farmers and ranchers, while also posing serious threats to U.S. domestic beef production and prices, according to two advisory reports submitted this week.

  • Minority Report to the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (APAC)
  • Minority Report from the Animal and Animal Products Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade (ATAC)

States’ Leadership on Healthy Food and Farming at Risk under Proposed Trade Deals

 Sharon A. Treat, IATP (November 2015).
[Abstract] Consumers want and expect that product labels will identify where their food is from, how it was produced and what is in it. In the absence of action by the federal government to provide this information, states across the United States are stepping up to require informational labels on food, including nutrition details, health warnings, GMO ingredients and how and where the food was produced. These state labeling laws are at risk, however, from international trade agreements. In particular, two comprehensive regional agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), will have sweeping consequences for states across the country. Under these proposed international agreements, state laws and regulations that differ from, or are more protective than, federal or international standards could be superseded by these weaker provisions.

Sanitary & Phytosanitary Chapter: Constraints on Food Safety Provisions

Public Citizen (20 November 2015)
7 – Border Inspection – Food Safety – Certification – Inspection

[Extract] New language on border inspection allows exporters to challenge border inspection procedures: The TPP contains specific language on border inspections that allow challenges to the U.S. border inspection system. Border inspections must “limited to what is reasonable and necessary” and “rationally related to available science,” which allows challenges to the manner inspections and laboratory tests are conducted…

Biotechnology and GMO Talking Points – Various Chapters: First Trade Pact to Subject GMOs to new Trade Rules

Public Citizen (20 November 2015)

2 – GMO – Risk Assessment – Approval – Import – Monitoring – Labelling

[Extract] The TPP is the first trade agreement to specifically identify agricultural biotechnology/GMO products and policies as subject to new trade rules: The biotechnology, seed and agribusiness industries lobbied for and secured new trade protections for GMOs in the TPP. The National Treatment chapter includes an all-encompassing definition (all agricultural products including fish developed with a host of biotechnology techniques, including the combination of traits from unrelated plants or animals). (Art. 2.21.)…

TPP Fine Print: Biotech Seed Companies Win Again

Ben Lilliston, IATP (16 November 2015)
18 – IP – Intellectual Property – TRIPS – Biotech – Seed – GMO – Plant – Seed – UPOV91

[Extract] The IP chapter requires all 12 TPP countries to join a number of global intellectual property treaties. One of those treaties is the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 1991 (UPOV 91). That agreement updated the 1978 treaty in several important ways that emphasize the rights of seed companies over farmers’ rights, according to an analysis by Public Citizen and Third World Network (TWN). UPOV91 requires IP protection to be provided for all plant varieties; it requires protection for 20 to 25 years; and it stops farmers and breeders from exchanging protected seeds, a common practice of farmers in many countries around the world…

The TPP SPS chapter: not a “model for the rest of the world”

Dr. Steve Suppan, IATP, (16 November 2015)
7 – Sanitation – Safety – Standards – Food – Animal – Plant Health – Biotechnology – GMO

[Extract] Like the confidential USTR-industry dialogue and the intergovernmental negotiations that produced the chapter, the text alone reveals very little about how governments will provide the ‘appropriate level of sanitary or phytosanitary protection’ promised in the World Trade Organization SPS Agreement (Article 5.3). The TPP chapter promises to “build upon and reinforce” (Article 7.2b) that Agreement and the thousands of pages of SPS texts and numerical standards of international organizations referenced in the appendices to the WTO SPS Agreement. But textual explication alone reveals nothing of the capacity of U.S. regulatory agencies to implement and enforce the text to protect public, animal, plant and environmental health and life, per their obligations under U.S. law. .…”

Food Import Re-Inspection and the “High Standards” of 21st Century Trade Agreements SPS #2 (pre-TPP)

Dr. Steve Suppan, IATP (6 October 2015)
7 – Sanitation – Safety – Re-inspection – Food Safety – Agriculture – Public Health  – FSIS – USDA – Government-to-Government – Dispute Settlement – ISDS

[Extract] Proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreements often refer to the “high standards” that are reportedly contained in the draft negotiating texts. There is no way to verify U.S. proponent claims about any of the “high standards” because access to the negotiating proposals of the U.S. Trade Representative is very restricted, with threats of severe penalties for disclosure in the ‘fast track’ Trade Promotion Authority bill signed on June 29 by President Barack Obama. While Wiki-Leaks has published several draft TPP texts, the chapter concerning Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), covering food safety and the health of traded plants and animals and their byproducts, is not among them…