December 15, 2017

Food & Water Watch on Fisheries Research and the TPP

Food & Water Watch director Wenonah Hauter has issued a statement on her concerns over fisheries research and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement. Nine members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative today asking about the eliminating of tariffs on imported fish. Those tariffs fund domestic fisheries research.

Seafood AssortmentThe TPP is a highly controversial agreement between the countries of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, and Peru. This group has an economic power 40% larger than the European Union. Its stated purpose is to promote development and create jobs. Critics say that it may limit governmental control over environmental and food safety issues, and would elevate foreign firms to equal status with nations. The negotiations are being conducted in secret, with only official corporate “trader advisors” having access to the deals.

The letter from members of Congress states that the agreement may have an impact on the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act revenue, which has been law for 70 years. The Act allocates 30% of duties on imported fish toward competitively-awarded research and development projects that benefit U.S. fisheries. They improve fishing stocks, improve the marine environment, and focus on safety issues.

The Act generated $130 million in 2012. About $10 million of that amount came from duties on fish products from TPP nations. If other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines join the TPP, which they are asking to do, up to half of the monies generated by the Act could disappear.

The letter was signed by Walter Jones (R-NC), William Keating (D-MA), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), John Tierney (D-MA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), and Lois Capps (D-CA).

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