Reps. Waxman, Doggett, Capps, and Over 50 Members Urge Administration to Strengthen Tobacco Proposal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
WASHINGTON, DC—Today Reps. Henry A. Waxman, Lloyd Doggett, Lois Capps, and 53 other Members of Congress sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging that the Administration strengthen its tobacco proposal for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
“Tobacco companies are exploiting trade law to undermine commonsense efforts to reduce smoking and needless death from tobacco use. Just last year our ban on clove cigarettes was struck down at the World Trade Organization, and Phillip Morris has used investment treaties to challenge warning labels and package restrictions across the globe. These actions are appalling, and the Administration must do all it can to ensure there are barriers to abusive suits in the TPP,” said Rep. Waxman.
“Promoting tobacco abroad undermines American values and disregards a law in place since 1997. We should not enable tobacco companies to use trade law to subvert public health. Our country should be leading with trade policies that promote health, not disease,” said Rep. Doggett.
“The United States should be a leader in protecting our children and families from the dangers of tobacco. We need to hold tobacco companies accountable for attempting to subvert public health policies, and make clear the dangers of tobacco products. I, along with my colleagues, urge President Obama to take another look at this and ensure that our trade policy protects and promotes our nation’s public health priorities,” said Rep. Capps.
In 2012, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) put forward a proposal that would have included a clear “safe harbor” provision to preserve regulations that protect the public from the dangers of tobacco products from country-to-country challenges. In August the agency dropped those provisions and proposed weaker language that will be less protective of domestic tobacco regulation in TPP countries.
The letter is available online here.