News / Economy

    EU, US: Trade Deal Won't Pander to Big Business

    EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero, right, shakes hands with U.S. Assistant Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, Daniel Mullaney, Brussels, Nov. 11, 2013.
    EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero, right, shakes hands with U.S. Assistant Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, Daniel Mullaney, Brussels, Nov. 11, 2013.
    Reuters
    U.S. and EU trade negotiators rejected accusations on Friday that they are pandering to multinational companies in their push to agree the world's largest free-trade deal, saying food safety and the environment will not be put at risk.
     
    Consumer and green groups say a deal encompassing half the world's economic output threatens the standards governing products from medical devices to toys, because companies are pressing for lower costs and fewer barriers to trade.
     
    “We are not in the business of lowering standards,” the European Union's chief trade negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero told a news conference after the second round of negotiations in Brussels on an EU - U.S. free trade pact.
     
    His U.S. counterpart Dan Mullaney insisted: “We have received a clear message that whatever we do in regulation, we should not be undercutting the levels of protection that we have for the environment and for human health and safety.”
     
    Following the collapse of marathon global trade talks, the world's largest economies are trying to agree on a series of all-encompassing bilateral or bloc-to-bloc trade deals that go far beyond just lowering tariffs and seek to make life easier for businesses by harmonizing rules.
     
    Brussels and Washington both see free trade as a way to create jobs and generate investment after years of low growth following the global financial crisis.
     
    Their proposed deal, which negotiators began discussing in July and hope to agree by the end of next year, could boost the EU and U.S. economies by more than $100 billion a year each.
     
    'Frankenstein foods'
     
    The talks have been overshadowed by reports the United States bugged EU offices under a surveillance program made public by a former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden. But that is not the only sensitive issue.
     
    As negotiators wrapped up their week of talks in Brussels, environmental group Friends of the Earth called on negotiators to exclude any areas dealing with food safety, and warned against any attempt to deregulate polluting industries.
     
    “There is a need for much closer scrutiny of these negotiations and for many more people to be aware of the dangers they present to citizens and the environment,” said Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of the group's Europe office.
     
    EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has repeatedly said the EU's tight regulation of genetically modified food will not change, even if Brussels and Washington sign an accord.
     
    Many Europeans consider GM crops as “Frankenstein Food.”
     
    But U.S. lawmakers have said they will not support a deal unless the EU tears down barriers that have blocked U.S. farm exports.
     
    Washington has long been frustrated by EU restrictions on U.S. farm produce, such as foodstuffs containing genetically modified organisms and meat from animals fed with the growth stimulant ractopamine.
     
    U.S. negotiator Mullaney told reporters that while the talks were private, he had “heard a lot from civil society” and had received hundreds of comments and held meetings with non-governmental organizations and small businesses.
     
    In another ambitious deal, the United States is simultaneously negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asia and Latin America. That too came in for criticism this week when the website WikiLeaks obtained the draft text of part of it and said it sought to shrink consumer rights and unfairly benefit U.S. pharmaceutical companies.
     
    The U.S. negotiations in both the Pacific and in Europe aim to create free trade deals covering 60 percent of the world's commerce and more than 1 billion people.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: David Hill
    November 17, 2013 9:29 AM
    I have just learnt that the currently USA-EU trade agreement gives total power to the big corporations (and mostly US corporates not EU conglomerates) and where a nation's sovereignty has no effect or control on what big business does if this pact happens. In this respect the pact agreement details that a minimum profit has to be a supreme condition for the multi-nationals and that if this is not the case if the pact becomes fact, these conglomerates can sue sovereign governments for compensation if their profit margin are not met. Therefore if they do not get it by selling their goods and services they are making sure the people pay one way or the other to achieve their profit. But the big question is, what is a reasonable profit and what literally can become one big rip-off? Indeed this pact appears to me to be one where the people of the EU will pay far in excess what they should with such a regime in place - the no profit loss clause. Therefore global corporates will control our economic destiny and not the so-called democracy appointed politicians. I know that things are bad for the people but this is reinforcing the absolute power of corporations and where last year according to Forbes a mere 2,000 corporates controlled 51% of the economic turnover of the world (in nominal terms $36 trillion). WE are therefore really marching towards a world completely ruled by the very few and that is now becoming quite clear. The unfortunate side of this total control regime by the few is that global wars are now inevitable and where this will be continuous. So when the next war happens, don't fight for these people as you will simply not be fighting for our democracy but for the mighty corporations.

    Dr David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation

    by: Mrs. Gasass from: Miami
    November 15, 2013 6:12 PM
    These people are a bunch of groveling, pandering, glad handing, fools, and the "talks" will accomplish NOTHING.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8977
    JPY
    USD
    111.18
    GBP
    USD
    0.6834
    CAD
    USD
    1.3038
    INR
    USD
    67.139

    Rates may not be current.