Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution
10 July, 2018, 00:01 | Author: Wade Massey
President Trump on Monday blasted the "failing NY Times" for reporting that his administration opposed a pro-breastfeeding measure at the United Nations -tied World Health Assembly, claiming the problem was the resolution's limits on promoting formula.
USA officials sought to remove language that called on governments to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding" as well as a separate section that called for governments to restrict the promotion of products that experts agree could cause harm to children.
"What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health", Patti Rundall, a breastfeeding advocate who attended the assembly, told the Times.
The Times reported that the USA effort this spring during the UN-affiliated world health meeting was largely unsuccessful and that most of the original wording remained.
Initial US hostility was triggered by a draft passage calling on governments to "protect, promote and support breast feeding".
The worldwide infant formula industry, worth $70 billion, is dominated by USA and European countries and has faced plateauing revenue in the developed world in recent years as awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding spreads.
Patti Rundall, policy director for Baby Milk Action, told the Times that "We were astonished, appalled and also saddened".
An Ecuadorian official said that his government did not anticipate the harshness of America's response. Ecuador had planned to introduce the breast-feeding resolution, according to the Times.
'We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons.
The State Department declined to respond to questions, saying it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defended the United States delegation's approach.
With more mothers in developed nations turning to breastfeeding, the Third World is regarded as a potential growth market for infant formula companies.
"These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so", a spokesperson said in an email.
Companies that sell baby formula generate $70billion annually, but those sales have been stagnant due to the increased popularity of breastfeeding.
Maggie Haberman, a White House reporter for the Times, noted in a tweet on Monday that after calling the newspaper's report false, Trump confirmed its central premise: that his administration opposed the resolution.
The United States pressured other countries to stop a resolution that promoted breastfeeding at the United Nations, according to the New York Times. "At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?"
The issue stemmed around the wording of a new resolution that sought to promote breastfeeding. Trump said of his decision to withdraw from the agreement.
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