Trade Liberalisation and International Co-operation

Trade Liberalisation and International Co-operation

A Legal Analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Edited by Tania Voon

This book provides a detailed analysis of major legal and public policy issues arising from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – a treaty that will dramatically change the landscape of international trade, with effects that will be felt on a global scale.

Chapter 5: Plain packaging for the Pacific Rim- tobacco control and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Matthew Rimmer

Subjects: law - academic, competition and antitrust law, international economic law, trade law, law and economics, public international law


Big Tobacco has been engaged in a dark, shadowy plot and conspiracy to hijack the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and undermine tobacco control measures ñ such as graphic health warnings and the plain packaging of tobacco products. The tobacco industry has long considered the use of trade agreements as a means of delaying, blocking and frustrating the introduction of tobacco control measures. In the 1990s, internal documents highlight that the tobacco industry considered whether the use of trade actions under the World Trade Organization (WTO) may delay the introduction of measures, such as the plain packaging of tobacco products. However, there was an admission in the internal memos that such action would provide ëlittle joyí for the tobacco companies. A number of countries allied to the tobacco industry have challenged Australiaís plain packaging of tobacco products regime under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. British American Tobacco has lobbied the United States Trade Representative on intellectual property and trade. In the course of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) discussions, British American Tobacco argued: ëWe would strongly advocate tobacco and tobacco products being prioritized in the course of the negotiations when specific areas of concern are being addressed.í The TPP is a blockbuster, plurilateral free trade agreement, spanning the Pacific Rim. There has been concern that tobacco companies have been seeking to use this trade agreement to undermine tobacco control measures ñ such as graphic health warnings and the plain packaging of tobacco products ñ and the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

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