Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Trade deal to undermine health, environmental standards

US-EU organizations deliver criticism to trade representatives

By Andrew Ranallo   
Published June 26, 2013

TradeEnvironmentFood safetyFree trade agreementsGMO

Used under creative commons license from United States Government Work.

Closed-door trade negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), set to begin July 8, could significantly lower health and environmental protections as EU and U.S. negotiators work to “harmonize” standards as part of the agreement. A group of 34 family farm, consumer, faith, public health, development and environment organizations from the U.S. and EU have written to trade representatives expressing criticism of the trade deal and its mostly secret negotiation process.

In its current trajectory, the TTIP could lock in dangerously low standards for years to come, only contributing to already growing public concerns about food safety, GMOs and environmental costs. The letter calls for a renewed focus on the precautionary principle, which encourages rigorous scientific debate and public input when setting policy regarding the safety of new and emerging agricultural technologies and food additives.

The groups points out that, “Local communities throughout the EU and U.S. are rebuilding food and agriculture systems along different lines to produce healthier outcomes for consumers, farmers and our environments. Their right to do so must not be diluted by the TTIP or any other pact.”

“Public health, the environment and even sovereign nations are taking a back seat to corporate profits,” said Karen Hansen-Kuhn of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “We should be raising standards to protect our health and the environment and improve our food system, not lowering them. Perhaps if so much of the negotiations weren’t being held in secret, these issues would hold more weight.”

The letter goes on to reject the TTIP’s proposed investment provisions that would empower investors to sue sovereign nations over rules or conditions that may reduce their expected profits. In the past, many of those disputes have centered on a nation’s rules regarding health or environmental standards—under the TTIP, investors would have an emboldened upper hand in potential lawsuits.

Read the letter to Ambassador Michael Froman and Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

       Sign up for our free newsletter!