New trade deal threat to South West farmers

14 July 2014

Greens are warning a new EU-US trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could undermine agriculture in the South West, and in particular have a devastating effect on the region’s many small scale farmers.

TTIP is a proposed ‘free trade’ agreement between the US and the EU, the negotiations around which are currently taking place behind closed doors. However, information that has emerged about the proposed deal shows that if successful, the agreement could result in the harmonization of food standards between the EU and US. This would mean that, for example, food products such as chemically washed poultry, livestock treated with growth hormones and genetically modified crops – all allowed in the US – could be sold in the UK. This would severely undermine farmers in the South West who adhere to the higher European standards on animal welfare and on a GM crops ban.

The Green Group is the only group in the European Parliament that has been actively opposing the TTIP negotiations [1]; the trade deal is backed by the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and Ukip [2]. Hundreds of campaigners took to the streets in London on Saturday to protest against the proposed trade deal [3].

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West said

The potential race to the bottom on environmental standards, employment rights, and animal welfare is one of the key concerns Greens have about these secretive trade negotiations. TTIP is a huge threat to hard-fought-for European standards on the quality and safety of our food and on animal welfare.

This could severely affect small scale farmers in the South West, many of whom are leading the way in implementing sustainable farming practices.

Greens say that TTIP would also grant corporations the power to sue governments [4] and lock-in the privatisation of public services including the NHS.

Dr Scott Cato concluded

The proposals to protect corporate investors against the democratic interests of citizens must not be allowed to stand. Together with my Green colleagues in the Parliament I pledge to do everything in our power to prevent TTIP from being agreed.

Andrew Bell
Media Officer to Molly Scott Cato MEP
07903 932220

[1] Green Group/EFA website on TTIP:



[4] Proposals under TTIP include the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) mechanism. Already in action in several countries under the existing NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement), this allows corporations to directly sue governments for introducing legislation that reduces their profits.

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