WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today called on United States Trade Representative Michael Froman to release the food safety chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). She was joined in her call by Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME).

“Last month, I wrote to USTR Froman to express my concerns that the TPP will limit our ability to stem the tide of harmful products, particularly seafood from Vietnam and Malaysia. Unfortunately, his response was wholly inadequate. He tried to minimize the impact of the TPP on seafood imports, claiming that our tariffs on seafood are already low. In fact, there are 76 tariff lines on seafood. Many of these are not small: for example, the tariff on tuna is 35 percent. Removing these tariffs will make imports even cheaper.

“Ambassador Froman also stated that trade agreements present ‘additional opportunities’ to raise food safety standards. That is misleading at best. Trade agreements do not strengthen exporting country food safety regimes, or strengthen our own system, because they cannot increase funding for border inspections. That would be the best way to crack down on unsafe products.

“Finally, Ambassador Froman wrote that the TPP will not ‘lower food safety standards.’ But he is not in a position to make that promise. Trade agreements like the TPP empower foreign corporations to challenge regulations and regulatory decisions in importing countries. For example, Canadian companies have used similar provisions to challenge FDA drug safety rulings here in the United States. We cannot afford a race to the bottom in food safety regulations.

“We must get this right. Our families’ health is on the line. Ambassador Froman should embrace transparency and release the food safety chapter of the TPP.”