By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
Yesterday’s final WTO ruling ordering the U.S. to eliminate or alter another popular consumer policy – the country of origin labels for the meat that we all rely in the grocery store – could not have come at a more inconvenient time for President Barack Obama’s efforts to obtain Fast Track for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In addition to TPP’s offshore incentives and downward pressure on U.S. wages, it has been the string of trade pact attacks against U.S. public interest safeguards and the prospect of more such rollbacks were the TPP enacted that is fueling broad opposition to Fast Track.
President Obama dismisses these concerns. For instance at Nike saying: “critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation – food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”
In fact, the United States dumped its ban on the sale of tuna caught with dolphin-killing nets and rolled back Clean Air Act and Endangered Species regulation and auto fuel efficiency standards after past WTO rulings. With respect to COOL, Secretary Vilsack informed Congress that it would “have to fix it by either repealing COOL or modifying COOL…” In January, the administration opened all U.S. roads to Mexican-domiciled trucks that threaten highway safety and the environment to avoid trade sanctions under NAFTA.