The Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations are based on commitments to place corporate rights before social and economic justice, democratic control, and ecological sustainability. Negotiations are progressing quickly and with little public scrutiny until now.
Trade Deal Attacks Seeds, Farmers, Food Sovereignty
Agriculture is a critical economic sector that will be severely affected by the proposed trade agreement with Europe. The trade deal will concentrate even more power in the hands of corporations, at the expense of farmers and food sovereignty.
Corporations Get Powerful New Tools to Control Seeds
The trade deal would give biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed, and grain companies powerful new tools to force farmers to buy seeds at high prices, on corporate terms. It would give corporations even more power to ultimately decide who farms and how.
Eliminate the Right to Save Seed?
The trade deal would almost entirely eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed.
Plant varieties can be protected as intellectual property through Plant Breeders Rights as well as patents on genes. The trade deal would give rights holders an unprecedented degree of control over seeds and farming by committing Canada to adopt UPOV’91, the draconian 1991 version of The International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties. The inclusion of UPOV’91 in the deal is completely unnecessary and is excessively harmful to Canadian farmers. Seed breeders would have the right to collect royalties on seed at any point in the food chain!
The draft of the trade deal also says that biotech corporations could seize the crops, equipment, and farms, and freeze the bank accounts of farmers who are deemed patent infringers, like farmers who find unwanted contamination in their fields.
End Supply Management?
The deal would commit Canada to reducing or eliminating agricultural subsidies and other government supports to farmers over time. Supply management systems that have allowed farmers in the dairy, poultry, and egg sectors to earn a decent living are under attack. The Canadian Wheat Board (a farmer controlled grain marketer) is also very likely under threat.
What should we do?
Call your municipal councillors, provincial politicians and your Member of Parliament. Find out if they are in favour of this deal. If so, ask them how it would affect your community. Ask how it would strengthen Canada’s social, economic and environmental policies.
Tell us about your conversations. Link to the website. Share the materials. Learn more at tradejustice.ca.
Get your organization to sign the Civil Society Declaration on the Canada-E.U. trade agreement and become a member of the Trade Justice Network. firstname.lastname@example.org