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Public Interest Groups Reveal Risks of Trans-Atlantic Trade

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Monday, July 8, 2013
Dan Byrnes (202) 495-3039 or daniel.byrnes@sierraclub.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, as trade negotiators from the United States and the European Union began the first round of negotiations for the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Washington, DC, experts from the environmental, consumer, labor, and food and farm movements held a telepresser to discuss the potential risks of this sweeping trade deal.

A recording of the telepresser can be found here: http://sc.org/ttipmp3

The participants of this telepresser released the following statements:

“The Sierra Club is very concerned that our climate, our water, and our air could be put at risk by this sweeping trade agreement,” said Ilana Solomon, Sierra Club’s Trade Representative. “Investor-state rules could erase vital public health and safety standards simply because foreign corporations argue that they would lower their profits, and an expansion of natural gas exports would require more dangerous fracking across the  United States.”

“There were two visions for these negotiations, and the corporate agenda of rolling back the strongest food safety, financial and other consumer safeguards on either side of the Atlantic has become the approach instead of the public interest agenda of raising standards in this agreement,” said Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

“These talks with the EU provide a unique opportunity to advance democracy, sustainable development and working family protections within a trade agreement—an opportunity that, if squandered, will likely result in the kind of wage suppression and labor market degradation on both sides of the Atlantic that America’s workers have experienced with prior trade agreements,” said Celeste Drake, Trade & Globalization Policy Specialist from AFL-CIO.

“We need trade rules that promote the kind of food system we want: one that is locally controlled, biodiverse and healthy for our bodies and the planet,” said Karen Hansen-Kuhn, International Program Director for the Institute for Trade & Agriculture Policy. “Unfortunately, all signs are that this trade deal is headed the other way. The U.S. Trade Representative is pushing hard to eliminate restrictions on GMOs and dubious food additives and attacking the EU’s use of the precautionary principle as ‘unscientific.’ Civil society groups on both sides of the Atlantic reject any weakening of the precautionary principle and call for an open, transparent process to fix our broken food system.”

“The trans-Atlantic free trade agreement would give chemical companies and other multinational companies an effective weapon to roll back progress made over the last decade in the E.U. to protect human health and the environment from toxic chemicals,” said Bill Waren, trade policy analyst at Friends of the Earth. “The stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Download the telepresser here: http://sc.org/ttipmp3


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