I hope you had a delicious Fourth of July. As noted in Public Citizen, “your holiday meat could be much more mysterious” next year:
If you’re looking forward to grilling up some hamburgers and hot dogs, think about this: Where does the food you’re eating come from?
That simple question is going to be a lot harder to answer after a ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which decreed last week that such basic consumer information as country-of-origin labels on meat are “unfair trade barriers” to multinational corporate profits…
… It’s the third consecutive WTO attack on a popular U.S. consumer protection or information policy to go down this year. (See the attacks on dolphin-safe labels and cancer prevention through cigarette controls.)
And there was this today from a Public Citizen online petition protesting U.S. trade policy and, in particular, the Obama administration’s handling of the super-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership, which some people are calling NAFTA East:
The recent WTO ruling is not merely advisory. Unlike other international institutions, the WTO packs a punch. The United States will have to abandon some hard-won labeling rules or pay to maintain them in the form of fines or sanctions.
Two decades ago, when the WTO and NAFTA were being forced on us, Public Citizen warned that this day would come.
We said — over and over — that these agreements had little to do with trade as conventionally understood, and everything to do with making giant corporations even more powerful. We said corporations would use the agreements to block important consumer, environmental and worker protections.
Now, we’re past the point of prediction. It’s reality.
You might think the U.S. government would be working to cure this problem and certainly not to make it worse. But if you thought that, you’d be wrong.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being negotiated in secret. We know some of what is being negotiated because of leaks. But while 600 corporate advisers are permitted to see the draft text and the U.S. negotiating proposals, the public is locked out.
Footnote: The Yes Men video is a few weeks old, but it’s still funny.