TTIP, CETA & Codex Alimentarius end democracy


The End of a Nation’s Sovereignty

The Codex Alimentarius or food code is a collection of standards, guidelines, and regulations related to food, food production, and food safety adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). The purported goals of this Commission are to protect consumer health, facilitate international trade and ensure fair practices in international food trade. Although the CAC is sponsored by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), it is driven by lobbyists, “independent” scientists, the industry as well as stakeholders (non-governmental organizations, NGOs). TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) are free trade agreements that bypass parliament.

The Codex Alimentarius, TTIP (pronounced tea-tip) and CETA have ramifications on democracy and your human rights. Read here to find out how.

By C.F. van der Horst
December 20, 2013, updated October 19, 2022


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Codex Alimentarius Transcends National Sovereignty

The real intention behind the Codex Alimentarius becomes clear when you realize that the executive body of the Codex Alimentarius is the World Trade Organization (WTO). If member countries do not comply with Codex guidelines and agreements, they face hefty fines and ditto sanctions from the WTO. Through heavy lobbying, large corporations steer the CAC’s decisions in the direction they desire. Each treaty partner must abide by these decisions. Thus, the Codex Alimentarius acts as a supranational agreement to put member countries in the straitjacket. Codex transcends national sovereignty because decisions are made beyond parliament. In the Netherlands, two ministries share responsibility for participation in the CAC: Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and Health, Welfare and Sport. In the book Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived chapter 8 is devoted to the Codex Alimentarius. It explains how the CAC works, what it is made of, and how industry interests influence the CACand what impact that can have on YOU.

"Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived" describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

“Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived” describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

TTIP: A Supranational Treaty

Dutch citizens elect their representatives in parliament (Senate and House of Representatives). According to its mandate, parliament should control the government and be a co-legislator. However, parliament has no influence on Codex Alimentarius decisions or free trade agreements. These supranational treaties exclude parliament and are thus a danger to democracy. One of these trade agreements is TTIP. Negotiations between the EU and the US began in 2013 and appear to have stalled in 2016. The Dutch government prepared a number of questions and answers early in the year, but completely ignored the potential food safety implications of ratifying that treaty. For example, meat in the U.S. can be treated with hormones, while that is prohibited in Europe. TTIP would allow American meat to be freely traded in Europe. The same applies to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In the US, these are freely available in supermarkets; in the Netherlands, fortunately, they are still banned. TTIP could put an end to this. The Dutch government’s letter also does not address the implications for parliament or local governments.

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CETA: An Alternative Route for TTIP

Even if TTIP is called off, there is an alternative route to Europe for US industry: through Canada. This is made possible by CETA, a free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. CETA provisionally entered into force in 2017, meaning that most of the agreement now applies. CETA differs from TTIP to the extent that food safety does not appear to be at risk. At least, the government wrote: “The introduction of CETA does not mean that European and Dutch safety requirements on food and products will change. With CETA, the EU and the Netherlands retain the ability to set their own rules in areas such as product safety, public health, the environment, and consumer protection. Also, CETA does not change the EU regulations on the admission of genetically modified organisms to the EU market.” However, CETA also bypasses the voice of parliament.

In 2020, a group of about 35 professors and legal experts wrote a letter to the Dutch Senate. Their major objection to CETA was that the treaty was unconstitutional. They argued, among other things, “This treaty delegates independent powers to the Joint Committee {the decision-making body for CETA} and a large number of working groups made up of EU and Canadian officials.” The Committee and the working groups have supranational powers without control by the Senate or House of Representatives. Ratification of CETA, therefore, results in a transfer of sovereignty to this Committee and these working groups, which are subject to the Union only as far as its EU members are concerned.

The CETA trade agreement further provides for the establishment of a supranational arbitration court operating under the Investment Court System (ICS). ICS is a form of ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Resolution) in which Canadian investors, both companies and shareholders, have the ability to seek very substantial damages from the Dutch state when a government measure affects their investment interest, including if it constitutes indirect expropriation within the meaning of CETA or if there is “improper treatment. (…) CETA amends Article 81 of the Constitution by transferring powers to the Joint Committee and Article 112 of the Constitution by transferring jurisdictional powers to the CETA Arbitration Court.” Unconstitutional or not, the Senate voted in favor of CETA. The governing body apparently did not realize it was putting itself out of business by doing so.

Foodwatch, a European advocacy group that focuses on protecting consumer rights as they pertain to food quality, warned that CETA is an alternative route to TTIP. The advocacy group wrote: “The Canadian and American economies are so intertwined that they cannot really be separated. CETA is therefore TTIP by the back door.”

TTIP Benefits Multinationals

To reiterate, supranational trade agreements such as Codex Alimentarius, TIPP, and CETA bypass decisions of national parliaments and local governments. They are therefore a danger to democracy. Major players in the global trade market can trade their products internationally through such agreements—whether the people’s representatives of a member country agree or not. It seems it is only a matter of time before American multinationals can also market their products in Europe. For now, genetically modified organisms are banned in Europe. However, the industry will use their money and lawyers to bend the rules. And what if the Dutch citizen disagrees? Even if we were to demonstrate with 450,000 people in The Hague against GMOs or similar dangerous products (as was done in 1981 against the placement of cruise missiles in the Netherlands), nothing can be done against it legally. The government will hide behind the treaty.

Therefore, the Codex Alimentarius guidelines and treaties such as TTIP and CETA can be harmful to our health. Codex already exists, CETA is already partially in place, but we can still stop TTIP. Prevention is better than cure.

There is another thing you can do, however: you can invoke the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Supranational Treaties and Violation of Your Human Rights

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for your right to govern your country through freely elected representatives of the people. Moreover, “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the Government,” this Article states. The supranational treaties completely ignore the input of elected representatives and the will of the people. In doing so, they violate not only democracy but also your human rights.

Stand up for your human rights if measures are imposed on you from these treaties or directives.

Want to Know More?

How does the Codex Alimentarius work? What are the risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? How are government committees affected? What about conflicts of interest? More importantly, what can YOU do about it?

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