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Corporate watchdog concerned over direction of Trans-Pacific Partnership

| November 14, 2013

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who is leading closed-door negotiations concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is pushing a proposal that would grant tobacco manufacturers the right to sue governments for passing laws aimed at protecting the public from tobacco, according to a Corporate Accountability International (CAI) report.

“Disturbingly—but not surprisingly—the U.S. trade representative has caved to Philip Morris International’s lobbying, promoting the tobacco industry’s interests over the public interest,” said CAI. “In particular, he is advancing a proposal that could enable Big Tobacco to sue countries implementing strong tobacco control measures, by claiming trade violations. If passed, the TPP will threaten governments’ sovereign rights to protect people from the tobacco industry’s deadly reach. It has the potential to turn back the clock on decades of hard-won progress secured through the global tobacco treaty [the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control].”

CAI is concerned not only with the influence exerted by tobacco interests. “The TPP is being driven by more than 600 lobbyists representing the interests of Big Business, including lobbyists for global tobacco associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as for global corporations such as Monsanto [and] Wal-Mart,” it said. “As a result, the trade agreement will have devastating consequences for people around the Pacific Rim. For example, as it now stands, the TPP threatens to decrease people’s access to medicine, water down food-safety laws and undermine public health advances.”

The report is at

Karnataka auctions might be shortened

| November 14, 2013

The Tobacco Board of India is reportedly contemplating speeding up flue-cured auctions in Karnataka, India, so that they are finished by the end of January, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala newsletter.

Normally, Karnataka auctions finish in February.

But with average prices climbing by more than 21 percent on those of last season, the board is said to be considering advancing the auctions so as “to prevent [unspecified] unscrupulous trade practices.”

“We are planning to move forward the auctions so that farmers will not need to keep the produce for a longer time,” Board Chairman K. Gopal was quoted as saying.

“The e-auctions system introduced on auction platforms has worked well as it kept unfair trade practices away.”


| November 14, 2013

Copies of a national newspaper featuring a half-page tobacco advertisement on its front page were given away at an event held by Indonesia’s Health Ministry to commemorate National Health Day on Nov. 12, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

The seemingly inappropriate gift was handed out at a time when the ministry is pushing the trade, industry and manpower and transmigration ministries to agree to ratify the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which encourages countries to ban tobacco advertisements.

Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi voiced her surprise that the newspaper was given, along with a snack box, to almost all of the ceremony attendees.

Nafsiah was not pleased with the ceremony’s organizing committee, but she was quick to shift the blame from the ministry to the tobacco industry. The ministry had not intended to promote smoking by giving away the newspaper, she said, before adding: “This shows how aggressive cigarette companies can be, as they will avail of any opportunity to promote their products.”

“Let’s just focus on the positive side,” she continued. “Look at the health warning stated on the bottom of the ad. This is what will happen if you smoke. ‘Smoking can cause cancer, heart attacks, impotence and is harmful to pregnancy and fetal development.’”

PMI to webcast conference presentation

| November 14, 2013

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at of a presentation and question-and-answer session by CEO André Calantzopoulos at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference starting about 12 p.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 20.

The webcast, which will be in listen-only mode, will provide live audio of the entire PMI session.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available at

And the presentation slides and script will be available at the same address.

Football wasn’t the only goal

| November 14, 2013

Imperial Tobacco employees from Germany and Poland recently competed in a football competition staged near to the company’s Tarnowo plant in Poland.

The weekend tournament involved teams from Radom, near Warsaw, and Langenhagen, near Hannover, as well as two teams from Tarnowo.

“It was great for our people from Poland and Germany to meet up outside work and test each other’s hidden talents,” said Radom factory manager Katarzyna Wolińska.

“This was fun for the players and supporters alike, and we hope this becomes a regular fixture in the future.”

Karnataka grower prices surge on strong demand for high-quality flue-cured

| November 13, 2013

Flue-cured prices in Karnataka, India, have risen sharply this year with the highest bid during the 51 days of auctions up to Nov. 8 having reached INR176.40 per kg, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.

By Nov. 8, growers had sold 38.12 million kg of the 100 million kg thought to have been produced in Karnataka this year.

In early December 2012, with 28.47 million kg of tobacco having been sold, the top bid had reached INR149.80 per kg.

This season, top-grade bright varieties are said to be fetching an average price of INR164.94 per kg, up 24 percent on that of last year.

Prices for medium-grade varieties, which are averaging INR141.91 per kg, are increased by nearly 21 percent on those of last year.

The high prices this year are said to have been encouraged by the high level of demand for quality leaf.

Last year also saw a surge in prices, but in that case the increase was put down mainly to the introduction of the e-auction system.

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