Trade Policy & Chemical Security

Page - June 4, 2012
We have a problem:

Unfair trade pacts make it harder to regulate toxics in products that come into our homes. Basic safeguards such as banning unsafe chemicals, or requiring rigorous testing, can run afoul of trade pact rules that systematically prioritize commerce over safety and the environment.

Unfair trade deals empower corporate polluters with new rights to challenge consumer and environmental regulation. For instance, under the U.S.-Peru trade deal, billionaire Ira Rennert is suing Peru for $800 million. His claim? Peru did not grant him a third extension on environmental clean-up obligations his company committed to finish by 2007. His smelter is contributing to ultra-high blood toxics levels in La Oroya, deemed one of the world’s ten most polluted sites, alongside Chernobyl.

In a similar NAFTA case, Mexico was ordered to pay a U.S. waste company millions of dollars after trying to get it to clean up toxic waste.

The U.S. used threats of a challenge before the World Trade Organization to water down Europe’s new REACH chemical safety policy, while China did the same against U.S. state efforts to regulate lead and toxics in toys.

SOLUTIONS: NO TOXIC TRADE

Remove companies’ ability to challenge environmental regulations in NAFTA-style pacts.

Allow countries to apply “precautionary principle”-based bans on potentially dangerous chemicals. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: THIS SYSTEM ONLY STANDS IF WE ALLOW IT

Educate your community about how unfair trade policy undermines policies to limit our exposure to toxics. The special interests want us to be ignorant about these deals’ real effect.

Tell President Obama: Either it’s Fair Trade or No Deal! 

Tell Congress to reject unfair trade deals, for instance one now being cooked up with nine Asia-Pacific countries called the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

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