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US TTIP wish list rips up geographic indications

It is sometimes easier to find out what is being discussed in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks by following the US government coverage than waiting for European negotiators to testify in front of MEPs. The US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means grilled trade ambassador Michael Froman on April 3. The hearing is available online, but the 441MB file runs for nearly three hours, so here are some highlights. Representative Mike Thompson complained about protected geographic indicators that (0:55): “…the EU is making it very difficult… …some of the things they have done have created harmful trade barriers…” Responding, ambassador Froman sympathised with Thompson (2:05): “…we think our system of trade marks and common names works well, and we resistant to efforts to create further geographic indications.” Summing up, Froman added (2:40): “…it’s important that we establish a regime that works for us as well.” TTIP­hearing­geographic­ 2 by anglophonie Texan Representative Lloyd Doggett asked if the dispute procedure (ISDS) for current US bilateral trade deals had any appeal options (0:54), for which […]


ARC Newsflash – April 2014

Dear friends and supporters, As Europe has thawed, the next months will be very exciting for our 2000m² project. Last Sunday, we planted seeds on the field in Berlin, and are looking forward to growing both the representation of the global situation, and the project itself.  More on that below. A few other highlights from March on UK cooperative in fire sale of its farms: The UK’s food and farming sector is reeling with shock and disbelief as “Britain’s largest farmer”, The Cooperative, has put its farms up for sale. Ukraine’s Land Struggle with Russia: If 1 out of 3 agro-ecological zones would be removed from Ukraine’s possession, it would cause enormous consequences for farmers. Poland short-changes its organic farmers: Organic farming and agri-environmental schemes will not grow under current Rural Development plans. UN Rights to Food expert demands radical change: Olivier De Schutter warned that current food systems must be redesigned. The irony of national markets: cheap exports expensive imports: How our convoluted food system destroys food sovereignty. TTIP: how fat cats can turn nasty: Will the precautionary principle and other stalwarts […]

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Feeding Europe: food sovereignty and agro-ecology

“Over the past fifty years, the food system has become increasingly globalised and has become heavily dependent on cheap raw materials, chemical inputs and mechanisation. The system favours large-scale intensive agriculture over small-scale farmers, international food corporations over local producers. In short, the global food system is broken – increasingly controlled by a handful of multinationals, small-scale farmers and local companies are driven out of business, both obesity and food poverty are rife, nature is being destroyed and citizens are increasingly footing the bill for one food crisis after another.” In addressing this, Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE) has created  a new briefing and a video (below), demonstrating how people across Europe are re-organising their food supply chains – re-connecting producers and consumers and re-localising agriculture and food distribution in a sustainable way. This includes short supply chains, alternative food networks, local farming systems and direct sales. FOEE is encouraging agro-ecological food systems that work within ecological and equitable limits – to achieve food sovereignty in Europe and the rest of the world. Only in this way we will be […]