A great article from Public Citizen shows that this line of attack has already been deployed in a series of submissions hammering home the idea to both the US and EU delegations:
- “Science-based risk assessment, as the foundation for regulatory decisions, must not be overruled by an incorrect (and politically driven) application of the precautionary principle, as currently applied by the EU” (Croplife America, a lobbying group of U.S. pesticide corporations that includes genetically-modified-organism (GMO) giant Monsanto)
- “Finally, the EU’s political approach in regulating crops enhanced with traits achieved through modern biotechnology procedures is a concern to U.S. wheat producers. The EU biotechnology approval process is slow and often influenced more by politics than science, creating uncertainty and deterring new investment in wheat research… Science and market preferences, not politics, should be the determinants.” (U.S. Wheat Associates)
- “The current 'asynchronous approval' situation is caused by many factors, including risk assessment guidelines that are not aligned and increasing politically-motivated delays in product approvals.” (National Grain & Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association, lobbying groups comprised of the largest U.S. agribusinesses, such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland)
- “International trade rules fully support trade in products of biotechnology for planting, processing and marketing, subject to science-based regulation… Politically motivated bans or moratoria by WTO member states are not consistent with members’ WTO obligations.” (National Corn Growers Association)
- “The implementation of production standards based on politics or popular thought instead of science will do nothing more than eliminate family operations and drive up costs to consumers.” (National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a factory-farm-supporting lobbying group for the beef industry)
- “What is deeply concerning about the EU’s overall approach to SPS [sanitary and phytosanitary] issues, however, is that its political body is frequently given the ability to override the EU’s own scientific authority’s findings to instead establish restrictions on products based typically on animal welfare or consumer preferences.” (National Milk Producers Federation & U.S. Dairy Export Council)
- “Significant barriers to further alignment, namely politics and differences in regulatory approach, remain on both sides of the Atlantic. Our experience has also shown that politics and differences in regulatory philosophy are fundamentally the root causes for differences in toy safety standards… Frequently, standards that are stricter than their international counterparts are promulgated due to political influence or the (often unstated) desire to erect technical barriers to trade, and not predicated by science or risk factors.” (Toy Industry Association and Toy Industries of Europe)
- “We would like to highlight the fact that these regulatory differences are often politically motivated… We regret that the differences in regulations in the EU and US are often caused by the result of politics rather than a different approach to ensuring safety.” (Toy Industries of Europe)
- “Such discussions need to take place between technical, not political or administrative, entities and need to make business sense for the organizations involved.” (ASME, a lobbying group for engineers -- the first U.S. "non-profit" entity convicted for violating antitrust laws)
But the most significant point that emerges from the above is the false opposition between that "science-based" method and the "politically-motivated" approach. As rightly pointed out by Public Citizen:
the "political" bodies the corporations fear are the democratically elected representatives of the people.
Without realising it, the corporations are revealing their profound contempt for democracy, and for the right of citizens to choose the laws that govern them. Instead, the huge multi-nationals are asserting the primacy of profit - and of their right to over-rule local laws. I've warned about this previously, specifically in the case of Monsanto, but it's still frightening to see the naked expression by companies of their desire to see law trumped by lucre.