EU negotiator rules out exclusion of chemicals from TTIP

28 April 2015 / Europe, United States, Classification, labelling & SDS

Revised proposal for general regulatory cooperation to be published this week

There is no intention of excluding the chemical sector from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, according to the EU's chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero. Mr Bercero was responding to questions at a press conference last week at the end of the ninth round of negotiations between the US and the EU in New York. A reporter wanted to know whether the two sides would give in to “voices in the EU community” calling for the exclusion of the chemical sector. 

Mr Bercero said that both sides had acknowledged early on that as far as the chemical sector is concerned, regulations in the EU and US are different, so the “aim cannot be harmonisation [or] mutual recognition.”  He added that the objective is to identify practical steps by which regulators can cooperate by sharing data, comparing their procedures on risk assessment and by looking into some very technical issues, but "nothing that could in any way undermine the implementation of our respective regimes. This does not mean exclusion.”

Commenting on a proposal on horizontal cooperation presented by the EU (CW 12 February 2015), chief US negotiator Dan Mullaney said the overall goal of the regulatory coherence and transparency agenda is to “ensure as much as possible that future regulations [in] the US and EU don't diverge in ways that are unnecessary.” The US side is examining the proposal, he added. Saying the revised proposal would be made public this week, Mr Bercero commented that the objective is to “facilitate cooperation between regulators in those areas where there is mutual interest to explore how to achieve regulatory compatibility.” From the EU side's perspective, he added, it would be unsatisfactory to exclude cooperation in areas regulated by member countries or states in the US.

Meanwhile, measures to give the US President trade promotion authority (TPA) have passed key committees in the US Senate and House. TPA would require Congress to either approve, or disapprove, any trade deal without changing its terms. Pointing out that President Obama had called for TPA, Mr Mullaney said that having TPA is “an important step” in the TTIP process.

The move to legislate TPA was welcomed by industry groups like the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (Socma), who said it would help drive US chemicals exports and eliminate costly barriers to chemicals trade.

But NGOs such as the Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel) opposed it on the grounds that trade agreements like TTIP “reflect the wish-lists of industry lobbyists, not the needs of the American people.”



Despite their funding and overall reckless corporate behavior, Monsanto is nothing compared to the power of the consumer at large
3 Ways Monsanto Threatens Our Planet (And What To Do About It)
Image Credits: Luther Blissett / Flickr.

Through rampant and unchecked genetic manipulation, multinational biotechnology juggernauts like Monsanto continue to churn out genetically modified creations that threaten the entire planet in a way that we have never before witnessed throughout history. Examining the role of genetic manipulation, even going beyond the affects on human health, it’s easy to see how the very genetic integrity of the environment can be compromised in the blink of an eye — and that’s even more concerning than the potential human health effects.
Here are 3 ways Monsanto continues to threaten life on our planet, and perhaps more importantly, what we can do about it:
1. Global Genetic Contamination
A major issue surrounding Monsanto’s out of control augmentation of the food supply (as well as other biotech giants actually genetically modifying animals) has to do with the genetic contamination of plants on a major scale. And while the notion is already disturbing, the reality is that we’ve already seen incidents of large-scale genetic contamination on behalf of Monsanto. Going back to the escape of genetically modified wheat in traditional crop, for example, is a perfect example of genetic contamination in action.
Even Reuters reported on the spread of the GM wheat beyond Monsanto test fields — a contamination event that incited lawsuits from farmers who wanted nothing to do with Monsanto’s GMOs. An event that follows similar reports on the depth of GM contamination, such as the admission that we documented regarding the spread of genetically modified flax among the food supply since the 90s. Once again, we see the unexpected pollution of the food supply on behalf of GM contamination — an issue that’s already costing us (and threatening our health).
“GE contamination is already costing the taxpayer,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “Contamination is inevitable and these costs will keep recurring.”
2. Squelching Knowledge Through GM Labeling
Monsanto’s number one enemy? Knowledge: specifically on the subject of what is actually lurking in your food supply. That’s why Monsanto is doing a great job in shoveling millions into the furnace of anti-labeling propaganda in order to keep you in the dark about what’s inside your favorite food brand. Because after all, Monsanto would likely go bankrupt if everyone knew what they were truly eating. Corporations would be forced to respond to public action, removing the GMOs from the products to regain any form of credibility and sales, and as a result Monsanto would be kicked out of the marketplace.
This is why we see Monsanto shelling out millions to fight GMO labeling and the right for consumers to know what they’re feeding themselves and their families.
3. Monsanto Controls Key Government Positions
It is through the manipulation of key political figures that Monsanto is able to manipulate our food supply, and this reality is actually much more devastating than you may think. Because not only does it mean that Monsanto will rail through their new GMOs with limited testing (the USDA is actually giving Monsanto special ‘speedy approval’ now to ram through their latest GMO abominations as I told you back in February of 2012), but it also means that Monsanto goons, who are willing to profit on food supply monopoly while ignoring all legitimate concerns, have a major pull on international trends.
Just look at the fact that taxpayers are now paying for Monsanto’s promotional marketing tools that are spread overseas in order to generate further business for the company. All through the United States State Department. We are now paying for Monsanto as if it were a government agency.
Taking A Stand
The fact of the matter is that, despite the funding and overall reckless corporate behavior, Monsanto is nothing compared to the power of the consumer at large. As I touched on earlier, even GMO labeling legislation has the ability to take down Monsanto profits dramatically. What it takes is you joining in the intellectual fight and spreading the word.
Because ultimately, it’s up to us to take back the food supply.