President Obama has nominated Islam Siddiqui, a vice president at CropLife America, for the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the US Trade Representative. CropLife America is a coalition of the major industrial powers in the pesticide industry, and includes Syngenta, Monsanto, and Dow Chemical. Siddiqui is also a former lobbyist for CropLife and served under President Clinton and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. A coalition of over eighty environmental, family farm and consumer advocacy organizations has sent a letter to the Senate urging them to reject his nomination. The coalition claims Siddiqui “shows his clear bias in favor of chemical-intensive and unproven biotechnology practices that imperil both our planet and human health while undermining food security and exacerbating climate change.” Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at the Pesticide Action Network of North America, says that CropLife’s agenda is opening new markets for pesticide and genetically engineered seeds. They also want to weaken international environmental treaties and other protections or regulations that might get in the way of production, sale, and export of their products. All of this makes him unsuited for this position because there is a clear conflict on interest with Siddiqui’s previous work.
Source: “Obama Nominates Pesticide Executive to Be Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the US Trade Representative” Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, November 17, 2009. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/11/17/obama_nominates_pesticide_executive_to_be
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