Online Program

Will New Trade Deals Take Away Public Health Progress?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Patty Lovera, MS, Food and Water Watch, Washington, DC

New international trade deals being negotiated by the United States with both Pacific Rim and European countries are likely to contain little-known provisions that allow multinational companies to challenge as illegal trade barriers any government policies that purportedly infringe on the companies’ ability to make a profit. These “investor-state dispute system” provisions will allow a corporation to challenge federal, state and even local governments at an international trade tribunal if it believes that a law or regulation will negatively affect its bottom line. This could allow foreign companies or investors to challenge regulatory safeguards on a range of public health, potentially overturning the rules and awarding the investor monetary damages. Public health focused regulations ranging from limits on food advertising to children, zoning land uses, restricting drug or pesticide residues in food, requiring labeling of food ingredients, or requiring a percentage of food bought for institutions to come from local farms could all be challenged under these provisions. Already under NAFTA, a company is challenging a moratorium on fracking in Quebec, claiming the ban impedes its potential profits. This presentation will provide an overview of the investor-state dispute system and provide examples of public health measures from the food, water and environment sector that could be in jeopardy from the expansion this mechanism through new trade agreements.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain how investor-state dispute system provisions created by international trade agreements undermine public health policies at the local, state and federal level.

Keyword(s): Regulations, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the food policy director for Food & Water Watch and work extensively on our campaign to stop new trade agreements and to document the damage done to the U.S. food regulatory system by international trade pressure.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.