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TPPA and tobacco control: threats to APEC countries


Background Twelve-member countries of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a free trade agreement to facilitate international trade and investment. As reported by multiple sources, the TPPA would grant the same trade benefits and legal protections to tobacco products, services and investments that it would provide to other sectors. Malaysia proposed excluding tobacco control measures from the scope of all TPPA chapters while the US proposed only to establish a consultation process in tobacco-related disputes and to declare that tobacco control measures serve a health objective within the scope of the general exceptions.

Methods The article analyses selected TPPA trade and investment rules and shows how they strengthen the ability of tobacco companies or a country to challenge the most progressive tobacco control measures. In the absence of a complete TPPA text, the analysis is based on specific leaked chapters, legal analysis from observers in the negotiations, existing free trade agreements among the TPPA parties and positions of the tobacco industry and its allies.

Results and conclusions Five TPPA chapters pose the most significant threats to tobacco control measures: Investment, Regulatory Coherence, Services, Intellectual Property and Technical Barriers to Trade. Trade negotiators should expand safeguards to ensure that the TPPA does no harm. The most effective would be to exclude (carve out) tobacco control measures from the scope of all TPPA chapters, as Malaysia has proposed.

  • Tobacco industry
  • Public policy
  • Litigation
  • Globalisation
  • Economics

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