FairWarning reports that the Obama administration appears to have retreated from efforts to include, in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, language enabling countries to uniquely attack the tobacco industry and adopt tough anti-tobacco regulations.
The online publication, which provides public-interest journalism on issues of health, safety and corporate conduct, says the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative put the protective language on hold last year following protests from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. Eight negotiating rounds passed since then without U.S. officials enabling the targeting of the industry through such language.
Cigarette makers in recent years have invoked trade agreements to challenge anti-smoking rules like large graphic warning and plain packaging requirements. The National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation and a group of former U.S. trade representatives, including three employed by law firms with tobacco industry clients, also spoke up against language protecting countries’ authority to adopt anti-smoking regulations.
Health advocates have said trade rules should not “inhibit any nation from exercising its sovereign authority to protect the health of its citizens,” and tobacco products “should not be treated as other consumer goods” in international trade.