Organic Consumers Association

Don’t Let Congress ‘Fast-Track’ Dangerous Trade Deals

Corporations like Monsanto are pressing the President and Congress to fast-track international trade deals—deals that would allow corporations to sue entire countries in order to get what they want.

If these deals are rammed through Congress, without scrutiny or debate, countries could lose their right to, among other things, regulate factory farms and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Tell Congress: Don’t ‘fast-track’ undemocratic international trade deals! Then, follow-up with a phone call and tell your lawmakers that you oppose fast-track. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.

What can Monsanto do about countries that don’t want its GMOs? Get them to sign a trade deal with the U.S. that forces them to lift restrictions on genetically engineered food. Here’s how an industry lobbyist put it: 

“U.S. seed companies that for a decade have been struggling to break the deadlock over the authorization for the cultivation of their seeds now will be presented with the ultimate opportunity to change the entire process to suit their needs.”

For Monsanto, it’s an opportunity to change the entire democratic process—and replace it with corporate control.

Monsanto likes the way we do things in the U.S. Here, GMOs aren’t even safety tested, despite the American Medical Association’s demand for “mandatory pre-market systematic safety assessments of bioengineered foods.”

But Monsanto doesn’t like the zero-tolerance policies other countries have, where if imported food shipments are found to be contaminated with unapproved GMOs, they’re rejected. Biotech companies have already successfully pressured the European Union to relax its food safety measures and adopt an unapproved GMO contamination level of 0.1% for genetically engineered feed going to E.U. factory farms

Now, Food/Drink Europe (the E.U.’s equivalent of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, representing all of their biggest food companies from Nestlé on down) is eying international trade agreements as a way to allow food ingredients to be contaminated with unapproved GMOs, too.

Monsanto’s minions in Congress are leading the push to give the President fast-track trade promotion authority. They want to use the trade deals to force factory farming practices on the rest of the world, practices that include feeding GMO crops to animals, treating poultry with chlorine and dosing factory farm animals with ractopamine

GMO labels are on the trade deal hit list, too. In fact, “Mandatory Labeling of Foods Derived from Genetic Engineering” is specifically listed in the U.S. Trade Representative’s 2013 Report on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Thanks to Wikileaks and Food & Water Watch, we now have the internal communications of the U.S. State Department to prove that it, too, is pushing Monsanto’s trade agenda. According to FWW’s report Biotech Ambassadors, our ambassadors are actively working to undermine mandatory GMO labeling laws in other countries, claiming such laws are trade barriers.

Monsanto’s new push for fast-tracked trade deals is an attempt to build on the foundations of corporate globalization laid down in the World Trade Organization. In 2006, the U.S. successfully obtained a WTO ruling that E.U. member state moratoriums on GMOs violated trade rules. But the ruling hasn’t forced European countries to give up their democratically enacted laws – yet.

The U.S. maintains its complaint and, according to biotech strategy cables quoted in Biotech Ambassadors, the State Department intends to “continue to seek full E.U. compliance with the 2006 WTO ruling” and “support aggressive retaliation against WTO-illegal trade barriers maintained by the European Union.” It has also used the WTO ruling to convince countries in the developing world that they will soon be able to export biotech crops to the E.U.

Please write and call your elected representatives in Congress to urge them to vote no on fast track trade promotion authority.