Common Dreams - World Trade Organization ruling against the U.S. country-of-origin meat labels that consumers rely on to make informed choices about their food provides a glaring example of how trade agreements can undermine U.S. public interest policies, Public Citizen said. How the Obama administration responds to the WTO ruling will have a significant impact on its efforts to build congressional and public support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In his May 2015 speech at Nike headquarters, President Barack Obama said that critics’ warnings that the TPP could “undermine American regulation – food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations” was “just not true.” He said: “They’re making this stuff up. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”
“Today’s ruling makes clear that trade agreements can – and do – threaten even the most favored U.S. consumer protections,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “We hope that President Obama stands by his claim that ‘no trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws,’ but in fact rolling back U.S. consumer and environmental safeguards has been exactly what past presidents have done after previous retrograde trade pact rulings.”
In response to previous WTO rulings, the United States has rolled back U.S. Clean Air Act regulations on gasoline cleanliness rules successfully challenged by Venezuela and Mexico and Endangered Species Act rules relating to shrimping techniques that kill sea turtles after a successful challenge by Malaysia and other nations. The U.S. also altered auto fuel efficiency (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards that were successfully challenged by the European Union.