Genetically modified organisms
Commentators are worried that the US may be pressuring countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) - an Asia-Pacific-wide free trade pact - to abolish the labelling of GM foods, which it regards as a trade barrier.
After 16 years of bitter debate, it has been agreed at the international level that governments are free to decide on whether and how to label foods derived from modern biotechnology, including foods containing genetically modified organisms.
One of WikiLeaks’ greatest achievements has been to expose the exorbitant amount of influence that multinational corporations have over Washington’s diplomacy.
Thai authorities are taking precautions to shield businesses and farmers from the fall in farm product prices after tariffs are cut under the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) at the start of 2010.
The United States has asked Sri Lanka, ranked high for software piracy in Asia, to better enforce intellectual property rights and also lift restrictions on American imports like genetically modified food.
Malaysia is about to adopt its biosafety regulations despite pressure from the US Biotechnology Industry Organisation that called on the US trade representative to reject mandatory labelling of GM products in the US-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement, claiming that labelling is tantamount to trade barrier.
Position paper of the US-based Biotechnology Industry Organisation on the US negotiation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA with Singapore, Chile, Brunei, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Peru
The United States will make it a priority to get rid of barriers to US farm exports based on unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary concerns about human, animal and plant health — including the EU ban on GM crops — the designee for US Trade Representative said on Thursday.
In the food safety arena, both the US and the EU are pressing their standards on other countries through bilateral free trade agreements.
A leading UN Committee has recommended that India review all aspects of its trade negotiations - particularly those with EU and EFTA - to ensure that they do not result in a situation which undermines the rights of people within the country, particularly the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. Meeting last month in Geneva, the Committee also noted its concern about the impact of genetically-modified seeds in India on farmers’ livelihoods.
The US-Sri Lanka TIFA Council discussed issues affecting US exports, such as Sri Lanka’s agricultural biotechnology policies, import tariffs, intellectual property rights protection, and transparency in government procurement.
The United States is using bilateral trade agreements to arm-twist weaker countries into accepting its food safety standards as a tool to expand the market control of US corporations. South Korea is the latest victim.
Hundreds of Costa Rican indigenous people began a protest against the Free Trade Agreement between Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States. They accused the FTA of imposing the use of patented seeds that prevent traditional crops and warned that the use of transgenic seeds from the United States would affect ancestral crops closely linked to the people’s view of the world and spirituality.
Negotiated on the sidelines of the US-Korea FTA, in March 2007.
India finds itself increasingly on the defensive in agricultural trade for permitting field trials across the country in a host of genetically modified food crops — rice, brinjal, okra, potato, tomato and groundnuts — and thereby exposing conventional crops to the risk of transgenic contamination. A case in point is a rather dodgy no-contamination certificate that the regulator, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, was forced to give two months ago in response to a restriction imposed by Russia on import of rice, groundnuts and sesame seeds from India.
Corporate globalization, savagely embodied by NAFTA, is not just a threat to Mexican farmers and rural villagers. The economic, health, and social damage created by industrial agriculture, corporate globalization, and the patenting and gene-splicing of transgenic plants and animals, are inexorably leading to universal "bioserfdom " for farmers, deteriorating health for consumers, a destabilized climate (energy intensive industrial agriculture and long-distance food transportation and processing account, directly or indirectly, for 40% of all climate-disrupting greenhouse gases), tropical deforestation, and a rapid depletion of oil supplies.
Cheap US corn will flood into Mexico in January when trade barriers are lifted under NAFTA, pitting local farmers against each other over how to protect the crop that has fed Mexico for thousands of years.
One outcome of the Indo-US deal on Agriculture appears to be the deregulation of the GM foods sector.
Given the interest generated with regard to the US-India nuclear deal, it is time to express our concerns on the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, too, and not let it be implemented in a business-as-usual attitude.
The US government is working to deny South Koreans the right to local food and to undermine their domestic food safety laws through the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA).