Unfair Trade: TTP and TTIP vs. Family Farms
OK, so, what are TPP & TTIP?
Believe it or not, there are two trade deals being negotiated behind closed doors by multinational corporations and several nations around the world right now. Surprised you haven’t heard about it? They’re called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), and, if passed, the agreements will effectively override U.S. law. You can be sure that will affect the way you buy and eat food.
The TransPacific Partnership (TPP) is a multinational trade deal between 12 countries located around the Pacific Rim: The United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Brunei. The partnership is considered the largest trade agreement in history, and the countries involved represent approximately 40 percent of global economic activity. The other deal is referred to as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Some are calling it TAFTA. It’s between the United States and the European Union, with its 28 member countries.
What does Fast Track Mean, exactly?
The agreements are being channeled through Fast Trick, a negotiating authority which allows the President to leverage international trade agreements without input from Congress. With Fast Track, Congress can only approve or disapprove a deal. It cannot amend or filibuster. Members of Congress would not be able to weigh in on behalf of their constituents — the process effectively removes their constitutional role in trade policy.
Got it ¦ what are the risks?
These trade talks are about deregulation and would reduce food standards at the sake of human and animal welfare.
As an example, how can corporations keep their power and keep consumers in the dark? Easy! Declare informational food labels as technical barriers to trade and make them illegal with trade agreements. And if you’re concerned about antibiotic resistance in your food, take notice, the deals will threaten public health and safety.
Patents are a major driving force behind these deals. Large companies want aggressive extension of US patent rules to apply to seeds. They want to go into locales, find native plant species and patent them.
Killing local. The trade deals attack rules and incentives for local production. That puts local food systems at risk and makes it harder to build a sustainable future.
Big bad meat. Major meatpackers want these trade deals to increase their exports and remove environmental, social and economic barriers to their profits.
More CAFOs. With more say over the export market, meat producers will be able to send more meat overseas while leaving all of the waste behind for us, and the environment, to deal with. That effectively turns the United States into Asia’s factory farm.
Fracking. Major energy companies also hope to go around local bans on fracking activities through these deals.
Bottom line? If you want a healthy, safe, sustainable food and farm system, you should stop these secret trade deals.
Who Benefits from these trade deals?
That’s easy. It’s the very same companies who write the deals! Household names like Cargill, Monsanto and Smithfield.
Eliminating tariffs and quotas benefits big buyers, not farmers and other producers. Companies can source anywhere and ship across borders to avoid expense. The deals also contain sneaky language and fine print that gives companies the right to sue countries for alleged profit infringement over regulations that affect their profits. These trade deals strengthen major corporations. To the same extent, they hurt family farmers, consumers, rural communities and the environment.
So what can I do about TTIP, TPP & Fast Track?
Use your political voice. Write or call your member of Congress and tell them to stop Fast Track and Say No to TPP & TTIP!
If anyone asks you about an alternative to these massive global trade deals, point them this way.
Where can I learn more?
Want to know how these trade deals hurt farmers and rural communities? Check out the Missouri Rural Crisis Center’s piece.
What does industrial meat have to do with it? Look at IATP’s new report.