In October 2013, representatives from 12 national governments and about 600 multinational corporations met in Bali, Indonesia for the latest round of negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that” some observers believe could pull the rug out from under national and local governments trying to regulate the sale and import of GMO foods,” according to James Trimarco.
When asked if the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) would outlaw the labeling or banning of GMO foods, Tony Corbo of Food and Water Watch pointed out that because the text is being negotiated in secret, it’s hard to say. Some chapters have been leaked—including 2,376 highly redacted pages obtained as a result of a freedom of information request by Australia’s Pirate Party—but much of the text remains a secret.
A former lobbyist for Monsanto, Islam Siddique, is the chief US negotiator on agriculture. Since the FDA does not recognize GMO foods as any different form non-GMO foods, they do not see a reason that products containing GMO ingredients should be specially labeled.
Commenting on the leaked TPP chapter which details how corporations could seek financial compensation for non-tariff barriers to trade, Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign observed, “The Tribunals that adjudicate these cases don’t have the power to literally demand that a government changes its policies, but they can award payments worth millions and even billions of dollars, such that if a country doesn’t want additional cases brought against it, it gets the line.”
Source: James Trimarco, “Will a Secretive International Trade Deal Ban GMO Labeling?”, YES! Magazine, October 18 2013, http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/will-secretive-international-trade-deal-ban-gmo-labeling-trans-pacific-partnership.
Student Researcher: Brandon Karns (Sonoma State University)
Community Evaluator: Thadeus Dean Humphrey