Natural organic food is likely to get harder to shop for with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. This is not a treaty deal like in the old days. Then Congress could exercise their constitutional duty to negotiate the deal. Now, with this TPP Congress are now bound under a product of the Nixon presidency, “Fast Track.” Not only are they not included in negotiations they don’t even get to vote on it until negotiations are completed and the agreements are signed.
Who gets to negotiate?
Corporations such as Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Cargill, Tobacco Associates, Inc. and trade groups like the Pork Producers Council is the frightening answer to that question. In fact, they mainly get to write the agreement. The only sliver of hope is that member state’s trade representatives are involved in the negotiations and, hopefully, they remember who they are supposed to represent.
Trade deals like this have happened before
We’ve heard this song and dance before, remember the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA)? In addition to that sucking sound of mainly manufacturing jobs being siphoned across the border to Mexico and other NAFTA signers, the U.S. was sued because of NAFTA. Why? The U.S. government banned imports of beef and live cattle from Canada when a case of mad cow disease cropped up there. The Canadian Cattlemen for Fair Trade sued the U.S. government for violating NAFTA. The U.S. government spent millions of dollars for defense against this suit, but ultimately won the case.
How the TPP can harm organic consumers
This agreement has the potential of threatening internet freedom, the environment and healthcare among many other important issues. When it comes to our food, non-GMO labeling can be in danger too. Under the TPP, big ag corporations can sue. Under this agreement that suit would be held in stacked arbitration courts with corporate originated judges who are otherwise corporate lawyers when they’re not on arbitration duty, likely with a conflict of interest or at least an inbuilt bias in favor of the trans-national corporations. The list could go on; non-rBGH growth hormone in milk product labels could be banned. Country of origin labeling is also endangered. Anything that the corporation trading with the U.S. under the TPP feels that might hurt their profits could be sued over.
This trade agreement hasn’t yet been approved by Congress. There is still time and we shouldn’t waste it; we need to call and write our congressional representatives and Senators right away. It is time that policy in this country is made for the benefit of the people first.