Corporate capture: Europe trade talks threaten environment
On Friday, May 23, the United States and the European Union concluded weeklong negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (also called the Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement). This fifth negotiating round was held behind closed doors in the Washington, D.C. area. TAFTA negotiating documents were classified as government secrets, even as several hundred corporate lobbyists who are “cleared advisors” to the U.S. Trade Representative were granted privileged access.
Tariff issues are a secondary matter in these talks. Generally speaking, tariffs on transatlantic trade in goods are low. Negotiators, therefore, focused last week — as they will throughout the course of U.S.-EU talks — on lowering regulatory “barriers” to transatlantic trade and investment. Such “barriers” include environmental and public health protections — such as those related to climate change, food safety, genetically-engineered products and toxic chemicals, among many others.