URGENT ACTION NEEDED:

Trade Bill – Discussions on post Brexit trade deals have already started and  SUSTAIN is  encouraging people to write to their MP to make sure concerned that British people and our MPs will all have a say in future trade deals.

Use this Sustain Link to find your MP and Sustain’s draft letter. Page down to see the text of my letter  to Heidi Allen, Conservative MP for Cambridge South and Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge.

GOOD THINGS TO READ:

Sustain’s  10 Red Lines for Trade in Food.  Several proposals have been picked up by the Labour Party to table as food standards amendments to the Trade Bill.

Briefing commissioned by and for parliamentarians on the importance of the Precautionary Principle that is embedded in the EU laws baby foods

I was invited to the Advisory Group Working group in April 2017 to discuss this notice that seeks to stop the misclassification of FSMPs

“Over the past years, Member States’ national competent authorities have reported increasing difficulties with the enforcement of the legislative framework applicable to FSMP. Member States’ experts have in particular flagged that an increasing number of products are placed on the market as FSMP in their territory, but that doubts arise in certain cases as to whether the products really correspond to the definition of FSMP and therefore correctly fall within the scope of the FSMP legislation.”

 

What the  UK’s priorities and objectives should be in negotiating any trade agreement;

Dear Heidi Allen MP,

I am a Cambridge citizen, but also a past Trustee of Sustain,  the Policy Director of Baby Milk Action and the UK member of the International Baby Food Action Network.   Since 1996, I have attended Codex Alimentarius meetings and have worked to ensure that  global trading standards are brought in  line with  World Health Assembly recommendations with the aim of ensuring that all products fed to babies are as safe as possible and marketed appropriately. I have also, with the help of many NGOs, MPs, Policy makers and citizens, helped bring in EU and UK legislation on the marketing products fed to babies and improved transparency and conflicts of interest safeguards.

In the light of this experience I urge you to ensure that the UK Government will give a cast-iron guarantee that UK trade negotiators will prioritise  human rights, health, sustainable food systems and the environment and that they will be open for parliamentary scrutiny and public debate.

The UK must not grant powers to Foreign Investors:  I also urge the UK not to grant powers to foreign investors to access arbitration tribunals via mechanisms (such as was proposed by ISDS during the TTIP negotiations). The  notion that foreign investors have  fair and equitable treatment (FET)  in any trade agreements is unacceptable.  If the UK were to  grant any external arbitration tribunal the power to adjudicate over the scope of FET would in effect transfer responsibility away from democratic control. The protection of investors has been at the heart of many challenges to sovereign states in the past and is an unacceptable erosion of democratic accountability and duty. The right to regulate is absolute and must not be undermined or traded off against powers for foreign investors. The UK has a functioning judicial system that  must be strengthened in favour of environmental and human protection, not undermined or subjecated to the rights of foreign investors.

UK negotiators must take account of the following:

  • the UK’s sovereign right to protect its citizens must take precedence over the commercial interests of foreign investors.
  • citizens, civil society and MPs must set mandates for our negotiators and MPs must have the right to amend or reject trade deals.
  • the  Precautionary Principle must be at the core of UK trade policy and all UK trade deals must  focus on safe, high quality, healthy food.
  • trade deals must be  good for people, the planet and animals and the environment.
  • trade deals related to health must incorporate World Health Assembly Resolutions, and must be fair to people in developing countries.
  • The need for a binding Treaty to hold Transnational Corporations accountable for Human Rights violations.
  • Foods must be labelled in a consistent way that UK consumers can recognise and understand, with standard ingredient and nutrition information, details of where the food comes from, allergen declarations and traffic-light colour-coded nutrition information.
  • There should be no health or nutrition or nutrition claims on processed foods, especially on foods for infants and young children.

Child rights and infant and young child feeding:

The UK is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and, since 1981, a consistent endorser of the International Code and subsequent WHA Resolutions.  The International Code and subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions should never be called a Barrier to Trade when implemented and enforced to protect public health.

While EU legislation is not inline with the WHA minimum requirements, the EU Regulations due to come into force in 2020 contain several new safeguards, including new prohibitions on  health and nutrition claims.

The UK has brought key sections into UK law, and its important that post-Brexit   safeguards are strengthened not weakened:

  • UK marketing regulations must be brought into line with the Recommendations of the World Health Assembly.
  • all ingredients  fed to babies must  pre-authorised following rigorous independent scrutiny, (with particular care over new technologies, such as nanotechnologies, and hormone treated milk;
  • systematic reviews must be conducted regularly and  independently of manufacturers and distributers of the products in question;
  • regular post market surveillance is conducted so that  infants are not exposed to levels of nutrients that might put an unnecessary burden on their metabolism;[1]

Food and farming alliance Sustain has written more on this https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/jan18_10_red_lines_for_food_trade_deals/

As the Trade Bill makes its way through the House of Commons I ask you to demand that the British public and our elected representatives in Parliament are allowed to set UK trade negotiation priorities for standards for food, farming and fishing. I also ask you to demand public and parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals, and to make our concerns known to Prime Minister Theresa May and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

Please let me know your thoughts and approach on these important issues. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours

Patti Rundall, OBE,

Policy Director, Baby Milk Action, IBFAN UK

4 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge, CB2 8BB

[1] The UK, as a primary duty bearer, has a legal obligation to protect, promote and support child health and ensure – through appropriate legislation – that ‘marketing and advertising do not have adverse impacts on children’s rights.’ These obligations are enshrined in many Human Rights and World Health Assembly Resolutions. For example the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)  The General comment No. 16 (2013) outlines State obligations regarding the impact of the business sector on children’s rights. Para 20: “States should ensure that marketing and advertising do not have adverse impacts on children’s rights by adopting appropriate regulation and encouraging business enterprises to adhere to codes of conduct and use clear and accurate product labelling and information that allow parents and children to make informed consumer decisions.”crc/c/gc/16 site:www2.ohchr.org 16 16 June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework” proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. http://www.businesshumanrights. org/UNGuidingPrinciplesPortal/Home

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