Britain and other European Union member states are under increasing pressure from North American business groups to open their borders to imports of genetically modified food as part of negotiations for a new Transatlantic trade deal, environmental campaigners have warned.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is being negotiated among European governments, the U.S. and Canada, with the active participation of dozens of large businesses. It has already attracted strong criticism from democracy campaigners, who say it could mean the UK could have to open the National Health Service further to private companies, and complaints against large companies could be treated in secret without proper legal recourse.
The European commission has strongly denied that the partnership would allow North American companies to circumvent EU food standards, particularly with regard to genetic modification.
“TTIP will not change the way we regulate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in Europe. EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht stressed that publicly many times. The EU has its red lines in the negotiations and the GMOs is one of them,” a spokesman for the commission told the Guardian.
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