Report: Trade deal threatens safety rules

An alliance of safety, labor and public interest organizations is warning that a potential trade deal with the European Union could weaken American safety standards and regulations.

This week, U.S. and European officials are meeting in Brussels for the second round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The deal, which has also been called the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), is designed to increase trade across the Atlantic.   

ADVERTISEMENT
According to the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, that deal could require American and European governments alike to weaken their safety rules.

“Through attacks on food inspection standards, consumer information like labeling GMOs, or the right of local governments to buy local food, TAFTA could change what Americans eat,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, in a statement. “Deals like TAFTA are not about trade, they are a permanent power grab by corporations that threaten our democracy and our health.”

The coalition last week issued a report worrying that the trade deal could lead the U.S. to roll back financial regulations, weaken food and drug safety rules and eliminate tax credits for environmentally friendly energy sources. The deal might also make it easier for companies to obtain Americans’ personal information, the coalition said, and get rid of policies encouraging people to buy locally.

“Some products and services that do not meet U.S. health and safety standards could be allowed into our markets; other provisions could require U.S. regulations to conform to new trans-Atlantic standards negotiated to be more convenient to business, instead of standards developed by state and national laws over decades,” the groups said in the report.