News / Economy

Consumer, Green Groups Voice Fears over EU-US Trade Deal

FILE - Monique Goyens, head of the BEUC, the European consumer organization, addresses a joint news conference with European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard of Denmark (not pictured) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.FILE - Monique Goyens, head of the BEUC, the European consumer organization, addresses a joint news conference with European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard of Denmark (not pictured) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.
x
FILE - Monique Goyens, head of the BEUC, the European consumer organization, addresses a joint news conference with European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard of Denmark (not pictured) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.
FILE - Monique Goyens, head of the BEUC, the European consumer organization, addresses a joint news conference with European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard of Denmark (not pictured) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels.
Reuters
Consumers risk losing out in a planned free-trade deal between Europe and the United States if big business succeeds in loosening standards, European consumer and environmental groups warned on Tuesday.
 
U.S. and European Union negotiators are holding a second round of talks in Brussels this week on what would be the world's biggest free-trade deal, with a special focus on reducing regulatory barriers to trade.
 
Monique Goyens, director general of the European consumer organization BEUC, acknowledged that a trade agreement could lower prices and give consumers more choice.
 
“But all the benefits could be undermined by the risks of watering down European consumer regulation,” she said.
 
BEUC, Friends of the Earth and the European Public Health Alliance told a joint news conference they were concerned that mutual recognition of regulations, designed to cut costs, would in fact result in the adoption of the lowest standards.
 
“It's difficult to see how you can have mutual recognition unless it's a race-to-the-bottom approach,” said Friends of the Earth Europe director Magda Stoczkiewicz.
 
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has repeatedly said EU regulation on genetically modified (GM) food will not changed, but the United States considers this a trade barrier that must be reduced.
 
Consumers groups fear a deal will lead to more GM crops used in products sold in Europe, where there is widespread public distrust of the technology, with looser labeling rules preventing consumers from making informed choices.
 
The European Union has already dropped its ban on certain U.S. meat imports such as beef washed in lactic acid and poultry washed in chlorine. The United States is set to reopening its market closed to EU beef since 1998 over the mad cow scare.
 
The European associations said their comments were not designed as an attack on U.S. standards, but European consumers were broadly protected by a requirement that corporations prove their toys, chemicals and other products do not cause harm.
 
The U.S. approach is more to allow consumers to obtain damages for actual harm, they said.
 
U.S. consumers could also suffer if current tough regulations on medical devices, financial services or alcohol were watered down, they said.
 
Among the European associations' greatest concerns is a provision in the future trade deal that would allow foreign companies to bring claims against a country if it breaches the treaty. This, they said, would limit a country's right to pass laws to protect its citizens or the environment.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7718
JPY
USD
107.32
GBP
USD
0.6125
CAD
USD
1.0974
INR
USD
60.919

Rates may not be current.