This initiative concerns the topic of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the agreement made between Europe and the United States known as TTIP (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership) or also TAFTA (TransAtlantic Free Trade Agreement), i.e. the agreement regarding free trade between the two continents.

The members of ICCR prepared a letter to be sent to Michael Froman (US Trade Representative) containing strong concerns regarding the proposals included in the TAFTA that could threaten the efforts made in recent years by US entities and associations to achieve greater transparency in the labelling of products that contain GMOs.

The letter states that:

  • Recent surveys of the US population have revealed that three out of four US consumers try to avoid consuming products containing GMOs;
  • More than 90% of US citizens support the efforts of organisations acting to obtain greater transparency in labelling the use of GMOs;
  • The chapter of the TAFTA “technical barriers to trade” would hinder legislative initiatives already implemented by some countries for greater transparency and would require even more restrictive rules than those required by the WTO (World Trade Organization);
  • Equally concerning is the proposal contained in the TAFTA to provide for the possibility of extrajudicial disputes between investor and country and therefore the possibility that an investor (foreign company) may circumvent the courts and national laws to combat the limitations required for indicating GMOs on the labelling. According to the proposal, the extrajudicial tribunals would have the right to claim compensation for biotechnological companies or those that use GMOs for losses for “expected future profits” deriving from greater transparency in labelling required by the individual countries (for example, Connecticut and Maine which approved laws in relation to GMOs in 2013);
  • To date, 35 new laws have been introduced in 35 countries for greater transparency on GMOs.

Moreover, the TAFTA claims that the proposals included would guarantee benefits for consumers through greater efficiency while, in the opinion of the supporters of the letter, consumers would not benefit at all from less information on the food they consume. The only beneficiaries of the agreement, conversely, would be the major pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies that will continue to profit from the sale of products that consumers would not choose if they were only better informed.

Etica SGR signed the letter last September.


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