FOE alarmed by President Obama's State of the Union remarks

Friends of the Earth alarmed by President Obamas State of the Union remarks on Atlantic and Pacific trade negotiations

Washington, D.C. – Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, today released the following statement expressing alarm about President Obama’s remarks in his State of the Union speech regarding not only ongoing negotiations for a flawed Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, but also for new negotiations on a U.S.-European Union agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership:

“The negotiating framework for both the Pacific and Atlantic trade deals favors Wall Street and multinational corporations at the expense effective environmental and climate policy.

“The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal’s investment chapter would allow transnational corporations to challenge environmental laws that protect our air, land and water. These wealthy investors could demand millions or billions of dollars in damages for the cost of complying with such environmental regulations, including lost future profits. The TPP could also lead to an explosion in cheap coal, tar sands oil, and other dirty energy exports that threaten to make climate change even worse.”

In his State of the Union message, President Obama also announced that the U.S. would move forward on negotiations with the European Union for a trade deal. A U.S.-E.U. “high level working group” report has delineated the outlines of this deal, which raise a raft of serious environmental concerns. For example, the working group proposals on investment, “regulatory coherence,” and services strongly suggest that transnational corporations would be granted new “super rights” to challenge government regulations related to climate change and environmental protection generally. Friends of the Earth is also profoundly concerned about the working group’s proposals to go beyond even the World Trade Organization’s standards for intellectual property rights, sanitary measures and so-called “technical barriers to trade.” This could open the door to patents on plants and animals, as well as trade in genetically modified food and even products based on synthetic biology — activities that could threaten ecosystems and the livelihoods of small holder farmers around the world. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership also could force open European markets to GM exports, which are currently not allowed.

Bill Waren, 202-222-0746, [email protected]

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