Islam A. Siddiqui (ISi)
Islam A. Siddiqui is the former Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Prior to this, he was Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agricultural trade association, a Clinton Administration appointee, and a career official of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Siddiqui served on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Health/Science Products & Services, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and USTR on international trade issues related to these sectors. Between 2001 and 2003, Dr. Siddiqui was appointed as Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he focused on agricultural biotechnology and food security issues. Before joining USDA, Dr. Siddiqui spent 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He received a B.S. degree in plant protection from Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University (now renamed as Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology) in Pantnagar, India, as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology, both from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
From 2001 to 2008, Siddiqui was a registered lobbyist with CropLife America, representing biotechnology companies including BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC Corp., Monsanto, Sumitomo, and Syngenta.
On April 2, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama named Siddiqui to the post of Chief Agricultural Negotiator in a recess appointment. Siddiqui’s previous nomination to the position remained on the Senate docket for more than a year and a half. His nomination was reported to the Senate floor from the United States Senate Committee on Finance on October 11, 2011, and senators finally voted to confirm Siddiqui as part of an en bloc group of nominations confirmed early in the morning hours of October 21, 2011. Dr. Siddiqui submitted his resignation December 12, 2013.
Siddiqui is a supporter of genetically modified foods (GMO foods) for human consumption, and repudiates their potentialhealth risks. In 1999 he worked against the mandatory labeling of GMO foods in Japan, stating that such labeling “would suggest a health risk where there is none.” In 2003, he criticized the European Union‘s precautionary rejection of the importation of GMO’s, stating that the ban was tantamount to “denying food to starving people.” In 2009 he called for a “second green revolution” employing biotechnology and genetic engineering.
In 1998, as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture, Siddiqui oversaw the release of the National Organic Program‘s standards for organic food labeling. The standards permitted both irradiated and GMO foods to be labeled as organic. (The standards were subsequently revised in response to public opposition.)
- MAY 9, 2014
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2014 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to name Ambassador Islam A. Siddiqui a senior adviser in its Global Food Security Project. Dr. Siddiqui recently served as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
“We’re honored that Ambassador Siddiqui has joined us at such an important time for U.S. trade,” said John Hamre, CSIS President, CEO, and Pritzker Chair. “In addition to his wealth of experience and expertise in U.S. agriculture, he will be a huge asset to CSIS by providing leadership in international trade and global food security issues.”
As Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Dr. Siddiqui was responsible for bilateral and multilateral negotiations and policy coordination on issues related to agricultural trade, including the TPP, TTIP, and WTO negotiations. In this capacity, Dr. Siddiqui played an active role in the successful 2013 WTO Ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia and served as the lead negotiator in the Brazil cotton case, which delayed the imposition of retaliation measures by Brazil in excess of $800 million annually. During this period, he also spearheaded a number of negotiations with trading partners in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere that contributed to record levels of exports by opening or expanding markets for U.S. food and agricultural products.
Getting a TPP Deal through the Congress
There has been much speculation about the “landing zones” on agriculture market access, as well as “rules” chapters like intellectual property and state-owned enterprises. But how well calibrated are the administration’s landing zones with the U.S. Congress and the public?
In the past, legislation authorizing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was used as a tool for political coalition building. Yet the Obama administration made a crucial calculation in early 2014 to postpone building the coalition of 60 senators and 218 House members needed to pass a TPP-implementing bill. TPA bills were introduced in the House (H.R.3830) and Senate (S.1900) in January, with no subsequent action in either chamber. Officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies have diligently consulted with members of Congress, but to be blunt, it’s a long way from consultation to political commitment. Absent leaders building public support and moving legislation, the political vacuum has been filled by members staking out positions for or against various features of TPP. Despite evidence of general support for the agreement, the domestic politics for passage are no better (and possibly worse) than they were a year ago.
Concluding TPP in the absence of either a mandate like TPA or overwhelming political support is a high-risk tactic. If the administration signs TPP without an advance agreement with Congress, members will receive the “gift” of being able to have it “both ways”: they can claim to support TPP in the abstract, but find some point of disagreement in the text that lets them withhold their vote. The administration would then find itself forced to renegotiate the agreement or engage in some other complicated maneuver to garner adequate support. Matters become even more complicated if an implementing bill reaches the Senate floor without TPA-style protections, since revenue measures are subject to unlimited amendment.
HAVANA TIMES — Genetically modified crops continue to be introduced into Cuban farmlands in a secretive fashion, while domestic consumers and producers are practically left out of all debates surrounding the design of policies and strategies in this area.
H.R.1422 – EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2014
- Industry-appointed “experts” will now determine what is safe and not safe for the public.
NASA Experts: California Needs 11 Trillion Gallons to End Drought, Southwest States “Not Sharing a Drop of Water”
House Speaker John Boehner and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have laid out some of their top legislative priorities. It’s a range of issues — everything from dismantling the Affordable Care Act to passing international trade agreements, and shutting down the possibility of another government shutdown.
Obama’s Cuban invasion – 12/17/14
A clever eighth grader can decode this sequence. How do you get a Pacific US to take Monsanto drought crop science? Geo-engineer a biblical drought. How do you fast track the TPP and ? Trade Obamacare for it. How d you get ISIS and GMO into Cuba? Just normalize relationships and send Putin a “F-you” press release.
Go ahead and dismantle the US Sovereign EPA. They were corrupted by design anyway. Who’s going to care? Why didn’t all this get done years ago. The Congress would have had issues with it. Now with a new crop of GMO corporate and future lobbyists coming into scheme, traitors Obama, McConnell and Boehner can get down to the business of dividing up global profits and the carbon credits they have been waiting two years to collect. The TPP is secret and I$I$ is too but the agenda is oh so clear. Almost transparent. .