It’s Not a Free Trade Deal and Michael Froman Wants to Take Food Choices Away From Individuals

It looks like individual choice is not supposed to get in the way of corporate profits in the world of Michael Froman and US trade policy. In a Washington Post article on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP), US Trade Representative Michael Froman is quoted as saying:

“We’re not trying to force anybody to eat anything … we do feel like the decision as to what is safe should be made by science.”

While it is not entirely clear what Froman means by this comment, most people would probably think that individuals have the right to determine for themselves what is safe, since “science” or scientists sometimes makes mistakes, just like economists. This would mean that food should be clearly labeled, so that people can know what chemicals it contains and how it was produced. Froman’s comment could be interpreted as objecting to this position.

It is also worth noting that the TTIP is not a “free trade” agreement as asserted in the article. The increased protections in the pact, in the form of stronger patent and copyright protections, are likely to do more to raise prices and block trade than any tariff reductions that are included. the pact is mostly about putting in place a set of regulations that are likely to be very friendly to the corporate interests involved in negotiating the deal, but which would face difficulty if put to a vote of democratically elected parliaments individually.