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Event

 
CAFTA Is Bad for Your Health
by William Norman Grigg
July 11, 2005

Do you take vitamins and nutritional supplements? Do you want a synod of 
sickly Euro-socialists deciding which ones you can take, or whether you'll be able 
to take any of them at all? If your answers are "yes" and "no" -- then take 
action NOW to stop CAFTA! ( http://www.stopcafta.com/ ) The proposed Central 
American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) may be the focus of an intense and 
escalating struggle on Capitol Hill, but most Americans have never heard of it. Many 
of those who are reasonably well informed are at best dimly aware of CAFTA, and 
probably consider it to be peripheral to their individual concerns. Trade 
agreements aren’t the stuff of riveting political drama, they don’t generally 
lend themselves to tidy summation in sound-bites, and the disputes they generate 
don’t fall neatly inside the artificial categories that define contemporary 
partisan politics.

For all of these reasons, most Americans react to discussion of CAFTA by 
clicking the remote, hitting the scan button on the talk-radio dial, or turning 
the page. But it’s likely that the reaction would be quite different if the 
American public were to recognize that approval of CAFTA would effectively let a 
gaggle of pasty-faced European bureaucrats decide whether or not we will be 
allowed to buy and consume vitamins and nutritional supplements.

Just days ago, the Codex Alimentarius Commission in Rome approved a 
regulatory framework -  
 http://www.npicenter.com/anm/templates/newsATemp.aspx?articleid=12887&zoneid=2  ) that would eventually phase out over-the-counter sale of 
vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other food-based nutritional aids. This ruling 
would nullify the Dietary Supplement, Health and Education Act of 1994, which 
was enacted after the federal Food and Drug Administration threatened to ban 
vitamins and other non-drug supplements. 
( http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/1993/vo09no22/vo09no22_vitamins.htm ) To enforce the terms of that ban, armed FDA 
agents conducted a highly publicized raid on the office of "vitamin doctor" 
Jonathan Wright, trashing his office, seizing records, and harassing his 
patients.

It is estimated that roughly half of the money spent by Americans on health 
care is invested in non-medical dietary supplements. Outraged over the FDA’s 
totalitarian ambitions and thuggish tactics, millions of Americans supported the 
1994 legislation. Undaunted, proponents of totalitarian medicine – and their 
allies in politically connected pharmaceutical companies – simply appealed to 
a "higher" venue, the Codex Commission. Established by the UN in 1961, the 
Commission "establishes guidelines to harmonize trade in food," explains one 
European account of the recent decision. 

Prior to creation of the World Trade Organization a decade ago (with the 
valuable help of Republican leaders Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole - 
( http://www.stoptheftaa.org/artman/publish/article_154.shtml ) the Codex Commission was an 
utterly toothless institution, providing a sinecure for bureaucratic place-holders 
and abetting the slaughter of innocent trees to generate paper cluttered with 
worthless pronouncements. But with the WTO in place, the Commission now has 
the means to enforce its rulings. Through the targeted use of trade sanctions, 
the WTO has the means to compel nations to obey its rulings; on several 
occasions, the Bush administration has meekly obeyed the global trade body’s edicts. 
Thus the Codex Commission has made it known that it expects all nations to 
"harmonize" their regulations governing dietary supplements with its new 
regulatory framework. 

This is where CAFTA comes into the picture. Like the NAFTA  ( 
http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/policy/nafta/sanitary.html  )agreement and the proposed Free 
Trade Area of the Americas  ( http://www.wetec.org/FTAAVIBusinessForum.ivnu  ) 
(FTAA), CAFTA contains a provision called the "Sanitary Phytosanitary Measures 
Agreement,"  ( http://www.sice.oas.org/TPCStudies/USCAFTAChl_e/Matrix06.htm ) 
which would require all signatory nations to "harmonize" their domestic food 
safety standards to those issued by the Codex Commission. John C. Hammell of 
International Advocates for Health Freedom points out that the "safety standards"  
( http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/sps_e/sps_e.htm  )  imposed by the 
Commission in essence treat vitamins as potentially dangerous drugs, imposing 
"Maximum Safe Permitted Levels" of potency that would make them practically 
useless. 

CAFTA, obviously, is not merely a trade agreement. It is a building block in 
a centrally managed global economic and political system. Even casual students 
of the sleep-inducing language of globalist bureaucrats should recognize that 
CAFTA, rather than being a free trade accord, is close kindred to various UN 
treaties. According to the preamble of the agreement, as recently adopted by 
the Senate, ( 
 http://ustr.gov/assets/Trade_Agreements/Bilateral/CAFTA/CAFTA-DR_Final_Texts/asset_upload_file308_3917.pdf )  CAFTA is intended to:


"promote regional economic integration"; 
"provide a catalyst to broader international cooperation"; 
define the "respective rights and obligations" of nations – including the 
United States – "under the … agreement establishing the World Trade 
Organization"; 
advance "sustainable development, and strengthen [international] cooperation 
on environmental matters"; 
"provide an impetus toward establishing the Free Trade Area of the 
Americas."By enacting regional trade agreements like CAFTA, Congress would surrender 
power to international bureaucrats like those responsible for the back-door 
effort to ban vitamins. And it’s reasonable to believe that if UN-employed 
bureaucrats can decide what vitamins people can take – in effect, dictating to us how 
we will take care of our physical health – they will exploit every opportunity 
to regulate our lives and livelihoods.

CAFTA, as we have explained elsewhere, (  
http://www.stoptheftaa.org/artman/publish/article_412.shtml )  is also a disguised foreign aid program designed to 
use concessionary trade policies to fatten Central American governments at the 
expense of U.S. agricultural producers. This might help explain the eagerness 
of its architects to keep vitamins out of the hands of the American public: 
If we’re weak and sickly enough, chances are we wouldn’t be able to give our 
ruling class the sound thrashing they deserve once the costs of CAFTA become 
apparent.

In any case, there’s still time to stop CAFTA  ( http://www.stopcafta.com/ ) 
before it takes effect. 
For updates and info, contact scott at planttrees dot org.