Right now, our government is negotiating secret trade deals that will affect our food and water. But while these deals are secret from the public, corporations have a seat at the table.
“Free Trade” Is Really a Corporate Giveaway
So-called “free trade” deals like NAFTA, and now the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, are really giveaways for corporations that undermine laws that protect people’s access to safe food and clean drinking water. They hand over control to companies that want to import food cheaply, from countries that have fewer food safety regulations; or to companies that want to override local control over measures that ban fracking or make it easier to privatize municipal water systems.
How Trade Deals Give Up Our Democracy
Under these deals, corporate interests can challenge our commonsense environmental, public health and food safety regulations as “trade barriers” in secret trade tribunals. With global trade, corporate profits too often override our democratically enacted laws.
The Pitfalls Of A Global Food Supply
Global trade undermines government policies that protect local farmers’ livelihoods, help countries maintain food self-sufficiency and preserve the environment for future generations. It also carries risks for U.S. consumers, as not all countries have robust food safety systems, and trade deals increase the amount of food we import. But U.S. regulators can’t keep up. For instance, the U.S. inspects less than 2 percent of the seafood it imports.
These deals also imperil common-sense food labeling—like labels that tell us where our food comes from—and other consumer protections that threaten corporate bottom lines.
What’s more, international trade bodies such as the World Trade Organization have facilitated the global corporate agribusiness network that prizes cheap processed foods and feed for factory farms from GMO soybeans and corn. Large-scale industrial cultivation of these crops has devastated the environment in places from the Midwest to the Amazon. And, most of these soy and corn crops are genetically engineered—reliant on huge amounts of herbicides like RoundUp, which the World Health Organization has classified as a probable human carcinogen.
We need local food systems that support people, farmers and the environment—not global food systems that prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of people.