TPP ratification opposed in NZ

| March 18, 2016

An anti-smoking advocacy group has come out against New Zealand ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, even though tobacco has been ‘carved out’ of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions of the deal, according to a story by Felix Marwick for Radio Network.

The TPP has been signed by 12 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam) that between them account for about 40 percent of the world’s economy, but it is yet to be ratified.

The Smokefree Coalition’s executive director, Dr. Prudence Stone, has told a parliamentary hearing the carve out of tobacco from the ISDS provisions is a hollow win.

She said it did nothing to stop the tobacco industry from financially supporting state to state disputes.

“The US is the home of the most litigious foreign investors,” Stone was quoted as saying. “US-based companies have initiated over twice as many disputes as every other home state combined.”

She said the agreement shouldn’t be ratified without independent and transparent scrutiny in the interests of the country’s public health, in light of current and emerging health issues.

The government should then adhere to all of the inquiry’s recommendations before it ratified the agreement, to show that it placed public health over and above the interests of its foreign investment stakeholders.

Stone said also that the tobacco industry had hosted and sponsored events during the 2012 US round of negotiations, and that any influence those events had on negotiators comprised a breach of a United Nations convention on tobacco control.

She said her organisation had pointed this out to the ministers of health, foreign affairs, and commerce at the time but had received no acknowledgement.

Category: Breaking News

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