Donald Trump defends US position against worldwide breastfeeding resolution

12 July, 2018, 13:15 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Ric Francis via ZUMA

The resolution was aimed at limiting "inaccurate or misleading marketing of formula", and encouraging breastfeeding support in all countries. Anderson is not alone in her sentiment that the U.S. government opposed the resolution to bolster the dairy-based infant formula industry.

That means the Trump administration was using the economic and diplomatic weight of US imperialism to promote policies that kill babies.

According to the Times, they also issued an ultimatum: If Ecuador didn't drop the resolution, Washington would withdraw military aid and issue punishing trade measures.

So while there is a reasonable position on Trump's side of the argument, for it to manifest, we have to trust that Trump and his mantourage of advisers can articulate the need as eloquently as Mair does above. The U.S. also unsuccessful lobbied to stop a World Health Organization initiative to give life-saving medicine to poor countries, siding with the pharmaceutical industry's intellectual property concerns.

A State Department official said, "Reports suggesting the United States threatened a partner nation related to a World Health Assembly resolution are false".

The resolution was expected to pass in spring at a meeting of the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Global delegates to the United Nation's World Health Assembly looked on at the group's recent meeting, as US representatives appeared to put the interests of the $70 billion baby food industry ahead of those of parents and children-and pressured other countries to do the same.

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The pro-breastfeeding resolution would pass as drafted - the US objections were unsuccessful - and The Times suggested it was due to the actions of "the Russians". But when that failed, the U.S. reportedly put the squeeze on countries backing the resolution by making aggressive trade and military threats-a move that further stunned the assembly. "The United States was fighting to protect women's abilities to make the best choices for the nutrition of their babies".

Limiting inaccurate infant formula marketing is most necessary in some of the poorest parts of the world, according to a Guardian investigation published earlier this year in partnership with the worldwide nongovernmental organization Save the Children.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defended the USA delegation's approach. Ecuador had planned to introduce the breast-feeding resolution, according to the Times.

She says a prolonged debate eventually resulted in a watered-down resolution that effectively undermined long-standing efforts to support mother's milk.

A spokesperson for HHS told the Times, "We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons". Millions of infants have safely consumed formula for decades.

"We're not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world", a Russian delegate told the Times, saying the decision to support the resolution was a matter of principle.

Of course, dominating a multi-billion dollar industry generates large profits-and plenty of money to invest in lobbying.

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