Right now, the big business lobby is pushing a trade deal that will endanger our food and water. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would hurt America’s workers, communities, environment and public health. The TPP was negotiated in secret for years — the public was shut out, but corporate lobbyists helped write the deal.
“Free Trade” Is Really a Corporate Giveaway
So-called “free trade” deals like the TPP and another under negotiation with the European Union are really giveaways for corporations that can undermine the laws that protect people’s access to safe food and clean drinking water. These trade deals can hamper our ability to inspect a rising tide of riskier food imports, make it easier to privatize municipal water systems and make it harder to promote local food through farm-to-school programs.
How Trade Deals Give Up Our Democracy
Under these deals, foreign governments and even foreign companies can attack U.S. laws. Other countries can challenge our laws as “trade barriers” in secret trade tribunals — that is how our country-of-origin meat labels were overturned. Foreign companies can use the trade deals to sue the United States if they think any rules or policies harm their future profits — including local fracking bans. A Canadian company is suing for $15 billion because the United States blocked the climate destroying Keystone XL pipeline. With global trade, corporate profits too often override our democratically enacted laws.
The Pitfalls Of A Global Food Supply
Global trade deals undermine government policies that protect local farmers’ livelihoods, help countries maintain food self-sufficiency and preserve the environment for future generations. They also carry risks for U.S. consumers. Food imports have doubled under past trade deals, overwhelming U.S. border inspectors. Many of the seafood, fruits and vegetables that are imported are raised under weaker environmental and food safety standards, but we inspect so little that these risky foods can end up on our kitchen tables.
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.