Martin Frids tal i Seattle
Speech at the Seminar in Seattle on December
"The Impact of Globalization on Food Safety"
Globalisation and the case for real
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Japan Offspring Fund
For European consumers, there are specific issues
that need to be addressed before we can accept the WTO regime and further
trade liberalisation. We are concerned by the lack of respect for consumer
rights. We wish to participate and to be represented on all levels, also
on the international level.
Several areas related to food and agriculture
are on the proposed agenda in Seattle. For example, we argue strongly for
the precautionary principle to be respected by the EU and other trading
partners. We need to look very closely at the TBT agreement (technical
barriers to trade) and the SPS agreement (sanitary and phytosanitary measures)
and how they apply to food trade and consumer protection. In the case of
hormon meat from the United States, the WTO has already ruled that the
EU ban is illegal. This is unacceptable for European consumers.
We are concerned about low international food
standards and we call for a review of both the TBT and SPS agreements.
Also, the TRIPs (trade related intellectual property rights) agreement
is used to patent seed and genetic material. In Europe, this is still a
very controversial idea.
WTO may challenge old and new national health
laws and make it impossible to ban imports of dangerous or undesirable
products. Sweden has a ban on antibiotics in animal feed which may be challenged
by WTO. European laws regarding GMO food and GMO labels may or may not
be WTO compatible. This uncertainty has in my personal opinion fueled the
strong resistance to GMO foods as we wonder what happened to our democracy.
These are concerns we share with consumers all over the World.
In Sweden, consumer organisations have recently
been able to discuss novel issues such as GMO foods directly with industry
and retail chains. A dialogue helps both producers and
consumers understand the issues. We intend to
fight for our rights on every level. The challenge of globalisation may
be the most rewarding so far as we gain real influence over decisions on
the international level.