Thursday, July 10, 2014

TAFTA 'trade' deal would weaken chemical safety

Chemical safety would be undermined by a proposed 'trade' deal with Europe, according to leaked documents about the secret talks.

TAFTA, also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, would include the United States, Canada, Mexico and the countries in the European Free Trade Association. It's been called the 'latest venue to attack consumer and environmental safeguards.'

A letter was sent by 111 organizations from both Europe and the United States to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and EU Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht. They will be holding more secret talks on TAFTA next week. Draft text will be presented that could directly undermine strong chemical safety rules.

Teamster ally Public Citizen issued a press statement:
“EU and U.S. trade policy should not be geared toward advancing the chemical industry’s
agenda at the expense of public health and the environment – but that appears to be exactly what is currently underway with TTIP,” the letter states. “The presence of toxic chemicals in our food, our homes, our workplaces, and our bodies is a threat to present and future generations, with staggering cost for society and individuals.” 
Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch,  said the chemical industry has apparently persuaded trade negotiators that chemical safety regulations are a 'barrier to trade.' Wallach said the so-called trade deal,
...could continue public exposure to hazardous substances in unsafe workplaces, toxic lakes and rivers, and tainted food and toys. If the U.S. and EU governments want to have any hope of stemming the controversy surrounding this proposed pact, they must reverse course and keep our chemical safety protections out of their closed-door “trade” negotiations.” 
The letter concludes by pointing out secret talks are 'inexcusable and inconsistent with the principles of a modern democracy.'

Read the whole letter here.