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In fact, Article 3.1 of the Agreement goes even further than this to state: "To harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures on as wide a basis as possible, Members shall base their sanitary or phytosanitary measures on international standards, guidelines or recommendations, where they exist." The key word here, from a legal point of view, would appear to be the word, "shall," which could perhaps be said to make the Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements mandatory for all WTO member countries. This is where possible future legal battles may arise on the international trade level in order to sort out "voluntary" from "mandatory" legal interpretation. On one side the natural health industries, practitioners and consumers and on the other side Codex, the WTO and our own government who's main interests may or may not be influenced more by international relations and trade pressure.
Again, the resultant impact of signing onto earlier trade agreements is that, even if a country decided not to follow a Codex standard within its own borders, they would remain subject to a wide range of conditions set out in detail in Article 5 of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and thereby made to comply. Therefore, countries that are members of the WTO are effectively required to implement all Codex standards by virtue of the fact that they have signed the SPS Agreement. It may not be entirely coincidental that many countries have already begun taking steps to implement stringent restrictions upon the dosage levels and availability of a number of vitamins and minerals, including the United States and Canada, in preparation for the finalization of the Codex Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.