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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9152
JPY
USD
122.70
GBP
USD
0.6494
CAD
USD
1.2374
INR
USD
63.925

Rates may not be current.