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Ten threats to Americans: Lori Wallach
Lori Wallach is director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
Ten threats to Americans by Lori M Wallach http://www.citizen.org
1. Rollback of financial reforms
EU negotiators have explicitly called for TTIP to roll back Wall Street reforms introduced by Barack Obama, with new “disciplines” that would limit the regulation of banking, securities and insurance. They have explicitly targeted the Volcker Rule (a ban on hedge fund-style trading by commercial banks), the Federal Reserve’s proposed rules for foreign banks, and state-level regulation of insurance. US negotiators, advised by Wall Street banks, have also proposed TTIP rules that conflict with proposals to ban toxic derivatives, limit the size of too-big-to-fail banks, enact financial transaction taxes and reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act (voted in by Congress in 1933 and abrogated by the Clinton administration in 1999).
2. Risk of ‘mad cow’ beef and tainted milk
In 2011, 28 of the 29 cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) identified by the World Health Organization occurred in the EU. More than 50 countries worldwide have restricted imports of EU beef as a result. Corporations that are part of the lobby BUSINESSEUROPE have listed “the [US] ban on EU beef exports linked to BSE” as a trade barrier to be eliminated. European agribusiness corporations have also listed US safety standards for grade A milk as an “obstacle” that they hope can be removed via TTIP.
3. Growing dependence on fuel
BUSINESSEUROPE, which represents European oil corporations such as BP, has asked that TTIP ban tax credits for alternative, more climate-friendly fuels such as algae-based and other emerging fuels that reduce carbon emissions.
4. Unsafe medicines
European pharmaceutical manufacturers have called for the US Food and Drug Administration to relinquish its current responsibility to independently approve the safety of medicines sold in the US. They propose that the US government automatically accept a European determination that a drug produced in Europe is safe for US consumers.
5. More expensive medicines
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the powerful lobby group for US pharmaceutical corporations such as Pfizer, is pushing to limit the ability of the US and EU governments to negotiate lower healthcare costs for taxpayer-funded healthcare programmes through TTIP. The US government already uses such measures to lower medicine costs for veterans of armed conflicts and others, and the Obama administration has proposed to do the same to limit rising Medicare costs.
6. Invasion of data privacy
US technology and communications corporations have bluntly asked that TTIP make it easier for them to gather our personal information (mobile, location, social, PC and offline) to create ongoing targeted profiles of consumers.
7. Loss of local job creation through ‘buy local’ rules
EU officials and corporate interests are prioritising the elimination, through TTIP, of popular “buy American” and “buy local” policies, which ensure that US tax dollars are reinvested in US government projects are used to create US jobs. The EU hopes that TTIP can be used to eliminate “buy local” policies used by state and local governments to reinvest tax dollars in creating jobs at home.
8. Unlabelled genetically modified food
About half of US states now have legislation in play to label food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Unable to stop this trend domestically, GMO-producing firms like Monsanto are pushing for TTIP to quash GMO labels.
9. Dangerous toys
European toy companies (represented by Toy Industries of Europe) have recognised that there are differences between EU and US toy safety regulations, including “flammability, chemical and microbiological hazards”. However, their stated goal is for US parents to trust the safety of toys inspected abroad.
10. Subordination of states to laws tailor-made for multinationals
(see The injustice industry)