Will Pesticide Enforcement Get Caught Up in Trade Talks?
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
The U.S. is talking with several nations as part of an emerging framework for trade policy, and in the Midwest, there are concerns about the ripple effect on farmers and consumers when it comes to pesticides.
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework involves more than a dozen countries and has four negotiating pillars, including decarbonization and anti-corruption.
Steve Suppan, senior policy analyst at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, said while there are motivations to move away from standard trade ideals, influence from large agribusiness firms still might complicate things. Pesticides are one of them.
"Some of the IPEF countries have pesticide policies that are rejecting US imports that have pesticide residues on horticulture and grain exports," Suppan observed.
He predicted it will lead to calls for the elimination of "zero tolerance" policies, with companies arguing they will disrupt the delivery of food. There is added concern the discussions will happen behind closed doors.
The Pesticide Action Network said the U.S. already has lax pesticide rules, and states like Iowa do not strongly enforce existing guidelines, impacting farmers' health and food safety.
Rob Faux, communications manager for the Network, who also has a farm in Iowa, said the U.S. and its agriculture sector have become too used to the reliance on pesticides.
"We've gotten to the point where we're blasé," Faux contended. "'It's just a pesticide, and we use it all the time.' "
Faux pointed to a proposal in Congress, the Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act, as a way to incorporate incremental improvements. He argued it would give regulators more teeth to keep harmful products off the market.
"That would change the process of both registration, making it a little bit more difficult, a little more burden of proof to show that it's safe," Faux suggested. "And then removing the chemical if it does show that there are dangers and problems with it would become easier"
While the future of the bill is uncertain, supporters say it also protects local governments and their ability to adopt their own pesticide rules. Some in Congress have been fighting a patchwork of regulations.
get more stories like this via email
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …
Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…
Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …
A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …
Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…
A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …
Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …
By Ray Levy Uyeda for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Greater Dakota News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…