Trade deal could be torpedoed by German GM fears

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

A TTIP trade deal could be undermined by German GMO fears
A TTIP trade deal could be undermined by German GMO fears

Related tags European commission European union

A transatlantic trade deal – worth billions of pounds to European food and drink manufacturers – could be derailed by Germany’s fears of genetically modified (GM) products, according to a former leading Brussels bureaucrat.

US trade negotiators’ attention was likely to turn to forging a deal with the EU in 2016, after they struck a deal in Asia this year, said Lars Hoelgaard, the former deputy director general of the EC’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.

“There is a good chance of​ [President Barack] Obama getting a Trade Promotion Authority deal agreed with Japan and other partners in Asia by the end of 2015,”​ Hoelgaard told

“That will turn attention to TTIP​ [the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership].”

GM objections

But a successful outcome to the talks could be frustrated by German GM objections, he warned. “The chances of a TTIP are however rather uncertain, given the opposition – primarily in certain Members States like Germany.”

Another obstacle to reaching a TTIP deal could be the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which was viewed with “deep scepticism”.​ ISDS is an instrument of public international law that grants an investor the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government.

Hoelgaard – who now works with the Brussels think tank Farm Forum – was speaking before the animal health conference – ‘Healthy animals, healthy food, a healthy future’ organised by the International Federation for Animal Health – Europe in Brussels earlier this month.

TTIP chances

“The chances of a TTIP are however rather uncertain, given the opposition – primarily in certain Members States like Germany.”

  • Lars Hoelgaard

Support for TTIP​ has been evident from the Food and Drink Federation, manufacturer’s organisation EEF, the Confederation of British Industry and other business and industry representatives.

‘Six feet under’

Clive Black, from leading city analyst Shore Capital, warned at a seminar organised by law firm DWF earlier this year “a lot of people would be six feet under” ​before any deal had a significant impact on business.

But not everyone would be overjoyed at a successful outcome. The United Kingdom Independence Party slammed the prospect of a partnership in the European Parliament today (June 25).

It’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall warned: “Let me make this clear, TTIP is a corporatist scam which will hurt workers, consumers, patients, farmers and small business.

“It gives unfair advantage to large corporations. It is a lobbyist’s dream.”

There were 30,000 lobbyists in Brussels – more than 40 per each Member of the European Parliament, he said.  “There are more lobbyists here than there are in Washington DC and therefore it’s no surprise to me that the big groups in this parliament support TTIP.”

Meanwhile read why the former top Brussels bureaucrat thought climate change meant Europe had “a moral obligation”​ to boost food production in the north of the continent.

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1 comment


Posted by Chris,

Good! It must be blocked.The TTIP is a horrible and we don't want US Corporations rolling in with the hormone & antibiotic ridden GM junk that passes for 'food' over there. This is a massive threat that many people simply are not aware of.

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