Fears trade deal could start a race to the bottom

Concern is mounting that the TTIP deal with the US could have a negative impact on European food and farming standards according to the Organic Trust.

Speaking in relation to developments on the TTIP or Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which is currently being negotiated by EU and American diplomats, Organic Trust’s National Co-Ordinator, Helen Scully said “there is a very real fear that this deal would be the starting gun in a race to the bottom in terms of food production and environmental standards.

“Almost as worrying as the direct threats to food safety are the more indirect consequences of such a trade deal. European farmers with higher animal welfare and environmental standards will be put at a distinct disadvantage to their American counterparts who have to comply with only the most basic of standards, if any.”

The Organic Trust says unlike many previous EU trade deals, which dealt mainly with import and export tariffs, the TTIP is more focused on the non-tariff or legislative barriers to trans-Atlantic trade such as food safety standards, restrictions on GMOs, hormone beef and dairy products and regulations on the use of chemicals.

It outlines that even the recent trend towards ‘localising’ our food production and procurement has come into the firing line in the TTIP negotiations.

The deal has been the subject of intense lobbying from agribusiness interests such as Croplife America, the European Crop Protection Association and Food and Drink Europe according to the Organic Trust. It says however, that opposition within civil society and the political arena seems to be growing.

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