Media Release: Jane Kelsey. Monday 12 September, 2011
The Executive Vice-President of the prestigious American Medical Association (AMA) James L. Madara has written to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk urging the exclusion of tobacco products and alcohol products from all provisions of TPP and any other free trade agreement, Jane Kelsey said today.
Jane Kelsey has been in Chicago for the latest round of talks on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
‘Removing trade barriers may be a desirable objective when the products being traded are beneficial, but tobacco is not a beneficial product. Cigarettes are the only legally available consumer product that kills through its intended normal use’, Madara said.
‘US trade negotiators should not ask any nation to weaken it’s a current anti-smoking or alcohol control strategies in the interest of promoting free trade’.
The letter cites longstanding AMA policy that ‘international trade agreements recognize that health and public health concerns take priority over commercial interests, and that trade negotiations be conducted in a transparent manner and with full attention to health concerns and participation by the public health community’’.
The exclusion would prevent actions like that of Philip Morris to sue the governments or Uruguay and Australia for tobacco control policies using the investor-state enforcement powers.
Likewise, intellectual property rules would not apply tobacco and alcohol trademarks and governments would not be required to reduce their current tariffs on imports.
The letter was distributed by the AMA’s Director of Prevention and Healthy Lifestyle as part of a series of stakeholder presentations at the Chicago round of the TPP negotiations, alongside other leading US public health groups Tobacco-Free Kids and the Centre for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health.
For the letter see: http://web.me.com/jane_kelsey/Jane/TPPA.html