Just some interesting reading...

from http://www.investorsinsight.com/


Many of our readers will remember that back in the early 1990s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to expand its influence in the realm of nutritional supplements. The agency sought to reclassify vitamins, herbs, and the like as drugs, rather than continuing to treat them as foods. If successful, the FDA's efforts would have given it complete control over the dietary supplement market, providing the agency with the authority to decide which vitamin dosage levels we could choose for ourselves, and which would require a doctor's prescription.

Fortunately, vitamin users everywhere bombarded Washington with letters of complaint, and Congress responded by passing the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, signed by President Clinton. This redefined supplements and, while tightening the law with regard to labeling and health claims, maintained the consumer's right to make his or her own decisions about what and how much to take.

And that, you'd think, would be that. But you'd be wrong. Because on January 1, 1995 a powerful new entity, the World Trade Organization (WTO), was born and the U.S. joined it. Now, the WTO wants to force you to do what the FDA couldn't.

The WTO's purpose seems simple, the supervision of world trade for the benefit of all. According to its own website, "At the heart of the system- -known as the multilateral trading system--are the WTO's agreements... These agreements are the legal ground-rules for international commerce. Essentially, they are contracts, guaranteeing member countries important trade rights. They also bind governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits to everybody's benefit." All the organization seeks to do, it says, is "to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business."

If that sounds to you like the WTO is the first step toward real free trade among the nations of the world... well, it isn't. Like any bureaucracy, its primary raison d'ĂȘtre has rapidly become the consolidation, and then expansion, of its own power. Rather than liberate world trade, it seeks to control it.

Since its inception, the WTO has been controversial. Its opponents believe that the organization is a front for giant transnational corporations, and that it seeks to smooth the way for them to profit at the expense of the world's poor... a debatable point of view. What becomes more and more obvious, though, as crusading Texas Congressman Ron Paul bluntly puts it, "Belonging to the WTO undermines national sovereignty." In the words of the Congressional Research Service, "the United States... is legally obligated to insure national laws do not conflict with WTO rules." Meaning, we have to craft our national laws with respect to the whims of the WTO... which brings us back to our vitamins.

By 2007, we have to make sure our regulation of nutritional materials conforms to 2002's European Union Directive on Dietary Supplements. Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements that can now be purchased in every grocery or drugstore will be policed by the EU rather than the FDA, and the regulations are strict. Common items such as Vitamin C will be available without prescription only in doses of 100 mg; more obscure ones such as lysine will not be sold over the counter at all.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. A few examples: the WTO has entered a $4 billion judgment against the U.S. for giving domestic companies tax breaks that encourage exports; it has ruled against provisions of the U.S. Endangered Species Act protecting endangered sea turtles; it has approved a higher level of lead and methyl parathion contaminants in food products than is legal here; and it recently decided that U.S. regulations on Internet gambling violate international trade law.

This meddling in internal American affairs is likely to increase. There are 145 members of the WTO, the great majority of them unsympathetic (at a minimum) to the U.S., and each has an equal vote in the ratification of rules and regulations. That's what has led Congressman Paul (and others) to call for a withdrawal from the WTO and to introduce the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, which would ensure that domestic law-making resides with our elected representatives and not with a foreign power.

There is no "meddling". All agreements are voluntary. Calling it meddling is like calling a customer meddling for wanting the product you sold him after accepting his money to purchase it.

-- Steve