Dec 5, 2013
U.S. Caves to Tobacco Lobby on Trade Pact Position
Posted on Aug 26, 2013
Facing opposition by Big Tobacco and its legislative supporters, the Obama administration has apparently backed down from a proposal to use international trade agreements to preclude the tobacco industry from challenging anti-smoking laws overseas, the investigative website Fair Warning reports.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which coordinates trade policy at the White House, had proposed to include language in the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that would limit the tobacco industry’s ability to use trade pacts to challenge anti-smoking laws in other countries. After an uproar by Big Tobacco, as well as such pro-business groups as the Chamber of Commerce, the White House backed down.
Now the Trade Representative will seek to add language stating that “all trade agreements recognize the authority of countries to protect human life or health—including by regulating tobacco,” but requiring one nation to discuss anti-tobacco laws that might affect the products of another nation.
“In recent years, tobacco companies have invoked trade agreements to challenge the most stringent rules, such as requiring large graphic warnings on packs of cigarettes,” Fair Warning reports.
—Posted by Scott Martelle.
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