WASHINGTON -- March 27 -- Green Party leaders called Congress's impending surrender to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the availability of dietary supplements a blow to U.S. sovereignty, democracy, and public health.
If the WTO imposes regulatory harmonization of dietary supplements on the U.S., consumers could face sharp prices rises for such products here as they have in some European countries.
"The Green Party warned all along that international trade authorities like the WTO would overrule our ability to pass our own laws," said Howie Hawkins, Teamster, fair trade activist, and chair of the Green Party of Onondaga County, New York. "If Congress, which is authorized by the Constitution to regulate interstate trade, signed away such powers when it endorsed U.S. membership in the WTO, then the Constitution has been rendered meaningless. We urge Congress to defy the WTO and to cancel U.S. membership in the WTO when it comes up for review later this year."
The Green Party favors international trade pacts that promote democracy, economic justice, and environmental sustainability, and urges abolition of the WTO unless it is reformed in accord with these principles and goals.
Greens compared Congress's compliance with WTO rulings with Congress's vote in October, 2002 to surrender its constitutional power to declare war to the White House.
"In both cases, Congress undermined its own power, vital to the survival of democracy, and granted unchecked power to an international bureaucracy and to the executive branch of U.S. government," said Nan Garrett, Georgia Green and Spokesperson for the National Women's Caucus, who noted that both Democrats and Republicans voted yes on WTO membership and on the transfer of war power.
Such concerns have motivated Green Party members and other Americans who value labor, environmental, human rights, consumer, and health protections to protest the WTO and other international trade authorities and agreeements. Many Greens plan to participate in demonstrations and other events during the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.