President Bush is on the stump and is to make a speech on CAFTA today.
As of today they may be 5 - 15 votes short and are hoping to change this with some concessions in a vote on China early next week. The last day for a vote next week before the August recess would be July 28th. It could come anytime they feel they have the votes. They still do not, more time for calls and the Codex issue to register, especially if it can get pushed beyond August.
"Codex" IS directly referred to in the CAFTA treaty.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
Article 6.3: Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Matters
"6. The Committee shall provide a forum for:
(d) consulting on issues, positions, and agendas for meetings of the WTO SPS
Committee, the various Codex committees (including the Codex Alimentarius Commission), the International Plant Protection Convention, the International Office of Epizootics, and other international and regional fora on food safety and human, animal, and plant health;"
We must question the pro-CAFTA lobby who claim the treaty has nothing to do with Codex, why then is Codex mentioned directly in the Agreement, over and above the SPS Agreement referring to harmonization to international guidelines? These are obligations and can evolve to increasing entanglements due to legal and economic pressure.
We were also just warned that the administration will try to go for broke for a vote on Wednesday or Thursday next week if they possibly can, as they realize that August will give more time for the rising opposition to build. So we should plan accordingly.
CAFTA vote summary
Senate Bill S.1307 is held at the desk of the House of Representatives.
This is the CAFTA bill that will be voted on in the House.
This will be instead of the (identical) House bill H.R.3045.
(I'm grateful to Lee Bechtel, lobbyist to AAHF and NHF for this distinction.)
This is the Implementation Act (of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement).
Read the Agreement itself, not the Act, to find the sections of concern to U.S. consumers of dietary supplements. Section 6 and Section 7, deepen the U.S. commitment to the WTO SPS and TBT agreements, increasing the U.S. vulnerability to entanglement in Codex regulations, especially under SPS Article 3.
Within 30 days of the treaty passing, an inter-governmental committee is required to convene and to work to assist the seven governments in carrying out their obligations under the WTO SPS Agreement. The word harmonization does not occur in CAFTA Section 6 but in the SPS Agreement itself, Section 3: "To harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures on as wide a basis as possible, members shall base their food safety measures on international standards, guidelines or recommendations." The WTO has adopted the Codex Guidelines as their worldwide standards. There are numerous economic and legal coercions whereby the domestic U.S. market will be affected.
The FDA is the branch of the U.S. government directly involved with Codex, and they have repeatedly said they support Codex, wish to harmonize the U.S. guidelines to it, and even support the current science of Risk Assessment to determine the "safe" upper limits for supplements.
In doing so they are continuing to ignore the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 which exempted dietary supplements from the harmonization section which impacts everything else the FDA regulates.
This is with the support of the largest vitamin companies who don't care about consumers. They have actively pushed for the Codex Guidelines and want one set of regulations for the world so they can have single product lines with world access. If they can push out smaller companies by having the regulatory bar raised, this increases their market share, and allows them to charge more for less in a bottle. The effectiveness of their products makes no difference to them.
The first thing the pharmaceutical industry had to do in order to control the supplement industry was buy many of the supplement companies. The necessity to control the supplement Trade Associations and silence opposition within the industry has been key to their goals, and so far they have succeeded spectacularly
- Howie Randall called me to say the President of Pfizer was on C-Span this morning, and this may repeat this evening.
- Just now, we need many many more to network and repeatedly call Congress. Tracking shows the response has been good for an average domestic health bill, and good for the short length of time this issue has been pushed - but nowhere near the deluge needed to make this a third rail issue.
But it’s starting!