Prospect of TTIP already undermining EU food standards, say campaigners

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The full article by Phillip Inman was originally written for the Guardian

EU negotiators will resume controversial trade talks with the US on Monday amid claims that multinational companies have jumped the gun in advance of any agreement to import goods that are currently banned – including genetically modified crops and chemically washed beef – into European markets.

A campaign group says that a report in a US journal concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks show that Europe is already capitulating to huge pressure from the US to allow imports of previously banned goods before an agreement is reached.

The accusation comes as the European commission faces intense pressure to abandon the controversial talks, which critics say will undermine food safety, environmental standards and job security. More than three million people in Europe have signed a petition against the deal while an estimated 250,000 people marched in Berlin last weekend against the proposals.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has described TTIP as “toxic” and resulting in a huge transfer of powers to Brussels and corporate interests that will bring about a form of “modern-day serfdom”.

The EU commission wants to sign a trade accord before next spring with the US to lower trade barriers and boost growth. EU leaders argue that a TTIP deal would create a free trade zone covering 800 million people and act as a counterweight to China’s growing economic power. Brussels has predicted it would add $92bn to the EU’s $18.46tn GDP.

More than two dozen EU negotiators will meet US officials in Miami to discuss harmonising regulations alongside new rules for public procurement.

But now Nick Dearden, director of anti-poverty group Global Justice Now, says the EU’s chief trade counsellor, Damien Levie, has let slip that free trade means undermining current minimum standards agreed by the EU.

Read more via The Guardian
Prospect of TTIP already undermining EU food standards, say campaigners