Monday, May 2, 2016

Alexander Hagelüken and Alexander Mühlauer — TTIP Documents Revealed

The United States government is putting more intense and significantly more far-reaching pressure on the European Union than previously thought during the ongoing negotiations to reach an accord on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This has become evident from copies of confidential negotiation documents that have been made available to Süddeutsche Zeitung and the German radio and television stations WDR and NDR. The material, consisting of 240 pages, was provided by Greenpeace and will be published this coming Monday. Several people familiar with the negotiations confirm that the documents provided are current.
According to the documents, Washington is threatening to prevent the easing of exports for the European car industry in order to force Europe to buy more U.S. agricultural products. The U.S. government concurrently has criticized the fundamental prevention principal of the EU Consumer Centre which protects 500 million Europeans from consuming genetically modified food and hormone-treated meat. The documents further reveal the fact that the U.S. has blocked the urgent European call to replace the controversial private arbitration tribunals, responsible for corporative lawsuits, with a public State model; instead, Washington has made a suggestion on the matter that had hitherto not been disclosed to the public.
The publication of these TTIP documents provides citizens with an unfiltered insight into the negotiations between the U.S. and Europe. Ever since the start of negotiations three years ago, the public could only try to guess what both sides were discussing, which has prompted millions of people to take to the streets in protest of TTIP. While the EU is making its suggestions publicly available, the U.S. insists on keeping their stances on issues secret. Washington utilizes this tactic to ensure a larger scope for negotiations. The disclosure of these 16 TTIP negotiation papers finally offers a fuller transparency for the 800 million people spread over two continents whose lives will be affected by the biggest bilateral trade agreement in history.…
The Trojan horse:
Washington has also set its sights on controversial genetically modified foods that are mostly prohibited within the Europe Union. Both sides have often stressed up until now that the U.S. will respect European concerns in this matter, and that Europe’s citizens do not have to be worried about this issue. But the confidential material paints a very different picture of the situation. “It is really quite interesting to see the demands the U.S. has made,” says Klaus Müller, chairman of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations, while evaluating the documents. “Perusing the documents has shown that nearly all of our fears regarding the U.S.’ TTIP intentions for the food market have been proven to be justified.”
The U.S., for example, demands that statutory prohibitions on products to protect human health should only be allowed to be passed if it has been scientifically proven that these products really are harmful. The EU bans products such as hormone-treated meat or genetically modified food as a precautionary measure if only the slightest hint of risk emerges, whereas the U.S. only bans them if people have already been harmed as a result of consuming said products.…
Another serious point of contention is legislative cooperation. Both the U.S. and Europe gave the impression that they were mostly in agreement regarding legislative regulation.
But the negotiation papers suggest something very different. While the EU stresses its right to legislative self-determination in the documents, the U.S. wants to severely curtail the scope of European legislators in regards to economic decisions where it has demonstrated in several suggestions it has made. One example is the demand formulated by the U.S. that “each Party shall maintain procedures that promote the consideration of the following factors when conducting a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) for a regulation.” Namely, this means that the EU is supposed to introduce a process that will evaluate “the need for a proposed regulation” in conjunction with an analysis of “the anticipated costs and benefits (quantitative, qualitative, or both) of such alternatives.”
“It will severely complicate legislation in environmental and consumer matters should the Americans assert themselves in this matter,” says Markus Krajewski, Professor of Public Law in Erlangen, in regard to the currently published suggestions made by the U.S..
U.S. legislation is fundamentally different than that of the EU. In the EU, for example, the use of 1,308 various chemicals in cosmetics is prohibited in light of suspicions that they may be carcinogenic. The responsible U.S. authority on the other hand, according to consumer protection organizations, prohibits no more than exactly 11 substances.
The US has a strange interpretation of "freedom" and "self-determination," revealing paradoxes of liberalism resulting from failure to integrate and balance social, political, and economic liberalism by prioritizing economic liberalism.

Economic liberalism (free market fundamentalism) is incompatible with political liberalism (democracy as government of, by and for the people).

The American version of "liberalism" is elite rule. First US Chief Justice John Jay's political preference, "Those who own the country ought to governed the country," has morphed into, "Those who own the world ought to govern the world."

Süddeutsche Zeitung
TTIP Documents Revealed
Alexander Hagelüken and Alexander Mühlauer
ht Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism

See also

Naked Capitalism
Greenpeace Leak Exposes Big EU-US Rifts, US Thuggishness, in TTIP “Trade” Negotiations
Yves Smith
For all those who said that we were scaremongering and that the EU would never allow this to happen, we were right and you were wrong.Independent (UK)
After the leaks today showing just what it really stands for, this could be the end for TTIP
John Hilary
ht Lord Keyes at Social Democracy For The 21St Century: A Post Keynesian Perspective

Expect firestorm to ensue, followed by official denials.


Ryan Harris said...

Surprising stance on GMOs with all the money he has taken from environmental activists and the organic industrial complex. Probably because GMOs are strongly supported by his Academic base, that count on economic rents from the sale of genetic technology to support their research. Monsanto is primarily based in Missouri, an important battle ground state in the Obama election, so maybe he owes some back scratching there but that was a lifetime ago. Just Unexpected to have Obama, the fundraising god, take a position that is unpopular, highly progressive and in the public interest with little financial benefit except from one or two obscure ag seed companies. Obama's top US Trade rep is from San Fran area - but of course being the top man is a Harvard/Princeton guy with all the baggage that implies and tie$ to establishment elite, the first deputy is from Microsoft's Business Software Alliance, and the second deputy a democrat aligned technocrat political appointee that specializes in "Intellectual property and AGRICULTURE." So That's where it comes from.

Matt Franko said...

Ryan the Chinese govt just bought out Swiss firm Syngenta which is similar to a Monsanto... kinda' the Monsanto of Europe... this added to Chinese govt purchase of Smithfield Foods (Virginia Hams/Bacon, etc...)

Ryan Harris said...

China needs ag tech
Have a long way to go to on yields and livestock while improving safety and quality. Makes sense there. The good thing is they will bring to Africa too, raise productivity, save endangered mega fauna.

Roger Erickson said...

Bullshit, Ryan.
100 yrs ago, there were regional varieties of most every fruit & vegetable grown in nearly every county in all 50 states.

Now we're reduced to a few dozen, similar to the entire population eating iceberg lettuce shipped from California.

Introducing Monsanto/Syngenta GMOs to Africa is destroying the wealth base of native farmers and totally destroying crop species diversity.

Was just talking to a guy from The Gambia. When he was a kid, The Gambia had their own, ancient, flavorful, unique strain of native rice. Now it's off the market. Disappeared. Thanks to Monsanto et al.

Monsanto/Syngenta are after concentrated profits, not the general welfare of the people, and DEFINITELY not agricultural resiliency.

This will not end well. May well turn out like the Irish Potato Famine.

Bob said...

But people continue to maintain seed banks, just in case.

Roger Erickson said...

still think Monsanto/Syngenta et al & the Comrades behind the Noodle Curtain know what they're doing?

they're just betting your farm ... using YOU as the guinea pig

Ryan Harris said...

Hi Roger, I haven't seen you posting much lately, I hope you are alright.
I wasn't presenting a defense of Monsanto or Syngenta. I didn't write that. I love seeing humans and other animals and plants helped with gene tech, and buying those products at the supermarket or farmers market! But that doesn't mean I think, RR2 soybeans are a panacea. IOW GMO is about alot more than Monsanto or Syngenta. Monsanto is the largest producer of organic seeds. Organic-industrial complex is big business because of the high profit margins and dubious claims and scare tactics that get people to pay more. Organics have about 30% lower productivity on average and require more land, more water and often greater quantity of natural fertilizers to produce. Nitrogen runoff from manure is just as damaging to a stream for example as nitrogen from ammonia injected into soil. The point is the loss of heirloom varieties and species aren't caused by GMO or modern ag but by the economics of mass producing food for billions of people. If people produced the old varieties in the old ways, people would have to starve to death.
Yields have skyrocketed, faster than population, reducing land in cultivation. Counter intuitive given what we hear in the mainstream media. But it illustrates why we can't go back to heirloom varieties on a mass scale without condemning people to die of starvation or converting lots more land to farms and killing off the wildlife. The trade offs are stark. And I 'get it', I see the parking lot at whole foods market! People don't care about their neighbors or wildlife. They just want their family to be healthy!

From golden rice, to resistant cocoa, to saving the Hawaiian papaya to boosting corn and soybean yields, GMO has been a useful technology, able to solve problems faster than breeding, sometimes saving species and successfully preventing the outbreak of diseases like the recent mutated Phytophthora late blight you mentioned. There are thousands of successes now in virtually every crop. But it is only one tool in the agriculture tool box, probably not even as important as fertilizer and basic soil and water conservation techniques. Problems of genetic diversity, crop diversity and various breeding technologies are tangentially related but are not primary. They are more related to the existence of agriculture and cities in general than the use of GMOs in particular, so I think you were conflating some problems.

African farmers are raising productivity, smaller percentages of the population are remaining on the farm as a result, cities are flourishing but at a high cost, as you pointed out. I don't know much about Gambia. I mostly follow the news out of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Kenya.

Roger Erickson said...

The issue of resiliency is parallel to crop productivity. The reason lower crop yields is associated with heirloom varieties is precisely because all subsidized efforts to breed useful new traits into diverse varieties ceased back in the 1920s, with the corporatization of Big Ag.

Yet it's easier to do than ever.

So rather than going with fewer & fewer monocultures, it's easier every year to "rescue" the diversity found in heirloom varieties. Crop diversity WILL make a come back, either before or after our demise. :(

Humans always rushing to make overly simplistic assumptions. "Let's shoot off another foot, since it seems to be in the way!"

It's our descendants who'll learn from our mistakes, if we don't preclude their survival too.

Ryan Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan Harris said...

This is the type of work, that infuriates environmental conservationists. They think these GMO varieties should be stopped at all costs. Last year, Greenpeace, whose budget is 100 times larger than the non-profit international rice research inst, physically went into the plots of land where the IRRI were developing rice varieties and stomped them to kill them. Because the IRRI is evil or whatever these environmental conservative groups want to cling to using their anti-science agenda. Look at the donors for the IRRI, do they look like a Big-Ag conspiracy to eliminate heirloom varieties? No. No. No. The whole-foods peddling fear and selfishness mentality is toxic to society. People should boycott Organic-only outlets until they stop this madness.

Roger Erickson said...

Yes, Ryan,
There are always a small % of extremists within every organization, which get noticed once it reaches a sizable # of people.

Please do NOT use that as an excuse to promote violence against all members of any classification. Such violence only promotes the very prejudice we all start out opposing.