To: IAHF List
Subject: IAHF Letter to USTR and US Dept of Commerce Re Codex Vitamin Issue
From: "International Advocates for Health Freedom" firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 09 Apr 2001 22:33:38 -0400
IAHF List: [See letter to the USTR and DOC below my intro]
Pharmaceutical interests in the Dietary Supplement Working Group of the Trans Atlantic Business Dialogue are actively attempting to get the American government to "harmonize" our dietary supplement laws to the grossly restrictive laws under development by the EU and at Codex. This is not a matter of conjecture, see their own press release where they come out and say this at http://www.crnusa.org/shellnr112000.html Who the hell are these multinational pharma cartel people to presume to speak for the American people???
Does the US Trade Representative intend to stand by us and defend our domestic dietary supplement law, or do they feel that their hands are tied by virtue of trade agreements we have signed? What about the Dept. of Commerce? Will they do anything to help defend our domestic vitamin laws? Can they? Can they do anything to help consumers in other countries by getting those countries to harmonize their dietary supplement laws to ours? Please see my questions below to the USTR, and to the DOC. As soon as I get a response to these questions, and to one's asked previously of the Congressional Research Service, I will let you know and will post them at http://www.iahf.com
Meanwhile, I am also faxing these questions in. If you have emailed questions to your congressman asking them to give them to the Congressional Research Service, please be sure to also send them by fax and or regular mail. The reason is congressional offices get swamped with thousands of emails and they can't possibly respond to all of them, but they do respond to faxes and regular mail, especially if it is sent to them through their district offices who see to it that constituents aren't ignored.
To: Robert B. Zoellick, US Trade Representative
Jim Murphy, Assistant US Trade Representative for Agriculture
Catherine Novelli, Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20508
The Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Ave. N.W., Room 5624
Washington, DC 20230
April 9, 2001
Dear Mr.Zoellick, Mr. Murphy, Ms. Novelli, or to Whom It May Concern:
IAHF is concerned about efforts currently underway by the pharmaceutically dominated Dietary Supplement Working Group of the Trans Atlantic Business Dialogue to harmonize American dietary supplement laws to the far more restrictive regulations currently under development by the European Union and by the UN's Codex Alimentarius Commission's Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses.
(Please see the enclosed press release of the Trans Atlantic Business Dialogue titled U.S. and European Leaders Agree on Principles to Harmonize Dietary Supplement Regulations which was reprinted on the Council for Responsible Nutrition website at http://www.crnusa.org/shellnr112000.html)
As you can see from this press release, the TABD is attempting to harmonize American dietary supplement regulations to international standards currently under development by the EU and Codex.
IAHF feels that the US Trade Representative and the US Dept. of Commerce should take an active stance in defending American dietary supplement laws from harmonization to international standards. Additionally, we feel that America has the best dietary supplement laws in the world since they afford consumers the greatest access not only to dietary supplements, but also to truthful health information about them on the label. We contend that the rest of the world can do whatever they want, but if any "harmonization" is to occur on a basis of SPS, it would be best for consumers world wide if other countries harmonized to our laws, not the other way around.
IAHF is concerned that our domestic dietary supplement laws are being undermined by our having signed the SPS Agreement, which requires the FDA to enter into a constant process of harmonization to international standards.
IAHF is concerned additionally that Congress could be pressured via a trade dispute to harmonize our dietary supplement laws to EU and or Codex standards. Our reading on this matter is that the only justification for our having standards that differ from the finalized Codex Vitamin standards is on a basis of safety.
We are concerned that the National Academy of Science is a non transparent body, not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (as a non profit 501 c-3 organization they're not part of the government, so are exempt from FOIA even when they receive Federal Grant money to generate reports that can impact public policy.)
We are concerned that the National Academy of Science has falsely defined vitamin safety in a paper that we do not accept as valid titled "A Risk Assessment Model for Establishing Safe Upper Levels for Nutrients" (see http://www.iahf.com under "NAS" and "Rebuttal"
We are concerned that if the USA does not harmonize its dietary supplement laws to the grossly restrictive EU and Codex "standards" that a pharmaceutical company wishing to sell high potency vitamins in the USA as prescription drugs might try to argue that our dietary supplement laws constitute an "illegal trade barrier" which could undermine his intended market and they might call for a WTO Dispute Settlement Body to review US dietary supplement laws on a basis of safety. We're concerned that the Dispute Settlement Body (which meets secretly, out of the public eye and whose determinations are final) might examine our existing dietary supplement laws and conclude that on a basis of safety, (per NAS's non transparent, pharmaceutically concocted " risk assessment findings") that our domestic vitamin laws "aren't justified" and that unless we change them by harmonizing to Codex standards, we could be hit with trade sanctions.
Furthermore: At the Congressional Oversight Hearing on March 20, 2001 Congressman Dan Burton asked the Congressional Research Service to investigate the FDA's assertion that the USA "could never" be forced to adopt a finalized Codex vitamin standard. While we realize only Congress can change our domestic laws, and that nothing happening at Codex can directly impact them, our concern is more indirect on a basis of our possible lack of compliance with the SPS and TBT trade agreements which are part of NAFTA and the Uruguay Round of GATT, unless we do harmonize our dietary supplement laws to a completed Codex standard.
IAHF has sent Congressmen Burton our own questions which we would like the Congressional Research Service to answer regarding this, and we have also asked our own Senators and Congressman to also ask CRS these questions, which provide legal detail that might assist you in your response to us. I am therefor enclosing my questions to CRS on this matter, and as soon as they respond, I will provide you with their answers. Perhaps you won't be able to respond until you see CRS's response, or perhaps you will. (Please let us know.)
1) Are our concerns justified, or not? Please explain your answer.
2) If our concerns ARE justified, would there be anything you think you could do to try to protect our domestic dietary supplement laws, or would we simply be obligated on a basis of SPS and TBT to change our domestic laws by harmonizing our domestic laws to the Codex vitamin standards? Can anything be done to get other countries to harmonize their dietary supplement laws to ours?
Your prompt response to these questions would be much appreciated. Please share your response with Congressman Dan Burton, Chair of the House Government Reform Committee, and with my Senators: Warner and Allen, and with my Congressman- Rick Boucher, as well as Congressmen Paul and De Fazio.
enc: CRS TABD press release
For Vitamin Consumers World Wide,
enc: Questions for CRS on Codex Vitamin Issue
cc: Congressmen Burton, Paul, Defazio,Boucher;
Senators Warner, Allen, and Hatch
John C. Hammell, legislative advocate