02/08/2011

Compromise of Biosecurity and Brand Too High a Price for TPPA Deal

 

Confidential trade negotiations may be covering up dangerous compromises that will undermine the clean-green foundations of New Zealand's economy. All topics under discussion for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) deal with the US should be disclosed immediately.

GE Free NZ is concerned that New Zealand will be drawn into propping up US business facing bleak times and seeking easy targets for opening borders to trade and forcing acceptance of GE agricultural products that are against New Zealand farmers' interests.

This is seen in the latest US Trade representative letter on TPPA negotiations [1] around achieving a suitable position on equivalency rules to “avoid the types of regulatory barriers that are increasingly among the key obstacles to trade”.

“New Zealand regulations which are vital to our food safety and reputation are under threat” says Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"The TPPA trade deal if similar to other Free trade deals will force abandonment of New Zealand's bio-security standards, including zero tolerance of GE seeds".

The North American Free Trade Deal (NAFTA)has forced down prices and destroyed many Mexican small farmers [2] through the privatization and sale of communal land and the removal of laws without parliamentary debate. Parallels can be seen in the way New Zealand government is refusing to be open and transparent in the debate about the TTPA in parliament.

New Zealand is at risk of being forced into sacrificing fundamental safety nets that go far beyond Pharmac and price of medicine. This can already be seen in MAF considering importation of raw pork meat from the NAFTA countries. This is currently under legal challenge by local pork producers.[3]

“Compromising on our biosecurity that sets New Zealand disease free status apart, is too high a price to pay for making trade easier. Advantages such as our GE-Free food production, and disease-free status of our animals, are too valuable to be sold-out for a trade deal." Says Mrs. Bleakley

The 2010 report by Relinger [4] warns countries that are negotiating Free trade deals to:

“approach the recommendations of western trade negotiators cautiously, and consider the ramifications of agricultural liberalization for the welfare of their country’s citizens”.

Australian experts [5] also warned about forced commercialisation of GE crops which have in only three years caused contamination and loss of GE-free status for many Australian farmers.

“We are asking Trade Minister Tim Grosser to protect the laws enshrining New Zealand’s capacity as a GE-free producer. Our “100% Pure” branding must be supported not abandoned as a casualty of this free trade deal” says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE Free NZ.

Furthermore standards to maintain local food quality and purity would cease to be feasible and would open up the Government to being sued for a change in policy, as seen recently with the Australian cigarette legislation.

New Zealand farmers have built up one of the world's safest, most humane, free range grass-fed farming systems, free of GE contamination. Our products have been sought after and exported for over 100 years.

There are many consumers and farmers who do not want GE to be part of their farming businesses. New Zealand farmers can glimpse their future by considering what has already happened in the US. The unintended effects of GE pollution are reflected in a recent law case lodged by Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association [6] who are suing Monsanto for contamination of their seed supply as well as stand over tactics and harassment by the Agri Company.

“The TPPA must not trade away our sovereign right to know and make laws that protect the citizens and the environment of New Zealand now and for future generations,” says Claire Bleakely.

References

1. Steady Progress at the Seventh Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Round, June 2011, Office of the United States Trade representative


2. Corn Farmers, Prospect, J of International Affairs at UCSD

http://prospectjournal.ucsd.edu/index.php/2010/04/nafta-and-u-s-corn-subsidies-

explaining-the-displacement-of-mexicos-corn-farmers/



3. Raw Pork imports will destroy NZ industry

http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily- news/farming/5282117/Raw-pork-imports-will-destroy-NZ-industry

Importing pig meat http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/ihs/pig-meat-from-canada-eu-mexico-usa.htm



4. Relinger R., (2010) NAFTA and U.S. Corn Subsidies: Explaining the Displacement of

Mexico ’s



5. Dr. Susan Hawthorne The creation of AUSTA

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=765

Austrade Meets with Biotech Recruits at Boot camp Seminars Across Australia

http://www.austrade.gov.au/Austrade-Meets-with-Biotech-Recruits-at-Boot-camp-

Seminars-Across-Australia/default.aspx



6. Organic farmers sue Monsanto http://rt.com/usa/news/organic-monsanto-lawsuit-seed/



ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06-3089842 / 0273486731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

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