Tiny, poor, diabetes-wracked Pacific island nations want to ban junk food, despite risk of WTO retaliation

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/20/tiny-poor-diabetes-wracked-p.html



I take it that the

Recognizing that no country should be prevented from taking measures necessary to ensure the quality of its exports, or for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health, of the environment, or for the prevention of deceptive practices, at the levels it considers appropriate, subject to the requirement that they are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where the same conditions prevail or a disguised restriction on international trade, and are otherwise in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement;

section in the preamble of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade is one of those statements backed by a fairly impressive wall of fine print?



Why would a turtle not need a seatbelt? If you’re in a car wreck, do you want something with a hard armored shell uncontrollably flying around the cabin?


When the Watusi was popular no one needed a seatbelt - the car would deform so much you were dead either way.


The turtle would still live for another 100 years, though.


In other news, murders linked to the black market Twinkie trade explode!


In this time where many of us are resisting a rising tide of nationalism, it is refreshing to see the globalists/corporatists are screwing up too. Authoritarianism is just as ugly whether it is global or national.


Most turtles don’t drive.


“banning imported food from … tourist institutions altogether”

And this helps the general population in what manner?


According to TFA, the action was taken by the ‘Torba Tourism Council’, in an effort to promote local agricultural production; so I imagine that it’s a combination of “attempting to push the issue within the limits of what power we actually have” and "ensure one reliable source of demand for local food objects, ideally leading to greater production and availability across the area’.

The council chairman also notes “Passing a more comprehensive ban on junk food imports to Torba could take at least two years, he added, and a final decision on which products to ban would be made by the national government.” so he appears to be well aware that this is an incremental step; and ultimately dependent on cooperation from higher ups.


When I went to the salad bar today for lunch I noticed slices of pumpkin and apple pie set out around the edges of the boring vegetables.

Maybe it’s a stretch but it seems like a microcosm of this story. Tempting people that are probably eating salad because they need to with pie struck me as a bit sinister, maybe even immoral.

On one hand you have people yelling “No nanny state! Show some self-restraint!” while on the other you’ve got this massive marketing engine (backed by the WTO apparently) who’s sole purpose is to get as many people as possible eating food no one should eat. I knew if I said something to the manager they would have batted their eyelashes and said innocently “We’re just providing our customers with choices, that’s all.”

I suppose it’s not all that much different than candy at the checkout but this feels like an unwarranted escalation.

(I refrained from the pie but the salad was more bland than usual.)


Read Gary Taubes’: “The Case Against Sugar.” It includes a description of the efforts by the sugar industry to get people to consume ever more sugar. The ad with the teenager is just a tiny example. A few years back the World Health Organization published a study of 167 countries that shows the diabetes rate climbing as per capita sugar consumption increases.





Has any drug-exporting nation ever tried to use WTO regulations against countries with drug laws?

“Yes, cocaine can be bad for some people, but they just have to exercise restraint and make better lifestyle choices.”


This predates the WTO, but the Opium Wars of the 19th Century were basically fought because the UK forced China to open its doors to the international drug trade. (This situation benefited the UK since it meant they could pay for Chinese goods with opium grown by the East India company rather than with European silver, but it devastated China by creating untold numbers of drug addicts.)

Similar situation, different drug.


In fairness, China had the temerity to demand payment in silver for all that tea that Britain imported from them.

Flooding them with opium was really the only thing the Brits could do. :confused:


It also had the wonderful side effect of making China far less likely to rebel from british control.