Public Citizen | Publications - Trade Advisory Committees: Privileged Access for Polluters

Trade Advisory Committees: Privileged Access for Polluters

December 1991

Excerpt from the Executive Summary:

Upcoming trade agreements could have a seismic impact on domestic environmental, health and safety standards here and abroad, because trade agreements can effectively undercut domestic law. Distressingly, United States trade negotiators have been lobbying hard for provisions that would threaten much of our domestic environmental, health and safety law in the name of global "harmonization."

Why would U.S. trade representatives work to undercut U.S. environmental, health and safety laws? Closer examination reveals that these unelected, unaccountable U.S. trade representatives are officially counseled by a platoon of corporate lobbyists, who are given preferential access to decisionmakers through a shadowy network of advisory committees. Public Citizen has scrutinized the rosters of these advisory committees. Whom do they represent? Would corporate trade advisors benefit from the deregulatory proposals pushed by our trade negotiators? Is the public excluded from the decisions made in its name? Are consumer and environmental concerns given full voice? This report concludes that special access to unelected and otherwise unaccountable trade policymakers has been granted to those with direct pecuniary interest in weakened health and environmental standards. Citizen advocates have effectively been shut out of the process.

Read the full report (pdf)