29 May 2008

Two Poisonous Proposals: Patents and Chlorine

We have a new enemy, it seems. It's called the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), and here's one sharp analysis of what it's up to

TEC which comprises EU and US high level representatives put a substantive harmonisation of patent law on its agenda. Substantive patent law covers what is patentable or not. The attempt to impose the low US standards on Europe via the Substantive Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) process utterly failed at the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Also progress in the WIPO B+ subgroup (without developing nations) could not be reached. Now the TEC is used as a new forum to push forward with lowering patentability standards through the back door. The TEC is a closed process, and sits outside the WIPO multilateral treaty talks. Since WIPO participants Brazil, India, and China began to fight EU-US proposals for ever more aggressive patents, the EU and US have begun their own bilateral talks.

Interestingly, the TEC is not content with a metaphorical poisoning of the computer industry, but wants to poison the entire European Union literally, with chlorine-soaked chickens:

Members of Parliament from all political horizons have reacted with fury to a Commission proposal yesterday (28 May) to re-allow imports of poultry rinsed with chemicals, stemming mainly from the United States.

Concretely, the Commission wants to allow businesses to use four currently banned anti-microbal substances to decontaminate poultry carcasses.

...

But MEPs, meeting in Parliament's Environment Committee, were incensed by the decision, which they say contradicts Community food production standards. "The chlorination of chicken intended for human consumption is not acceptable for the EU […] Such food production methods are at variance with the relevant Community standards, and threatening to the EU's entire set of food production standards and rules," states an EP press release.

...

If approved, the proposal would effectively lift an 11-year ban on US poultry, which are generally treated with these processes.

The US has been pushing for the ban to be lifted for years but to no avail. However, the issue was recently pinpointed as a top priority in the new "Transatlantic Economic Council" process, which aims to remove remaining regulatory obstacles hampering trade and investment between the two economic giants.

Ah well, at least the TEC is consistent in its aims.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surely there are enough chickens in Europe to satisfy all our needs! p

Freeman said...

Surely there are enough chickens in Europe to satisfy all our needs!

Perhaps, but here in the USA we're desperate to do something about our horrible trade deficits. We've figured out how to raise livestock very efficiently, at the expense of atrocious living and health conditions of the livestock. If we didn't decontaminate the results of this process, we'd all die of food poisoning! But we'd really like to export these wonderful and completely safe products, so please, look the other way while your leaders abandon their silly objections, and then buy buy buy!!!