Online Program

Trade threats to state tobacco control efforts

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:50 p.m. - 5:05 p.m.

Sharon Treat, JD, House Chair, Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission, Maine Legislature, Hallowell, ME
U.S. states have a limited role advising on trade and investment treaties, yet under our Federal system, these treaties limit states' ability to regulate to protect public health. With limited exceptions, such as advertising and packaging, most regulatory interventions to address the health impact of tobacco are left to state and local governments. Many states have made great strides in reducing prevalence, and have suffered innumerable lawsuits from the tobacco industry in domestic courts along the way. Trade and investment agreements give the tobacco industry powerful new legal tools to target regulations before foreign trade tribunals, where state governments are not directly represented. Pending trade cases challenging tobacco regulations in other countries raise the specter of similar challenges to US state regulations. Even where cases are successfully defended, the possibility of industry challenges and the complexity of the legal and policy issues involved can deter states from pursuing meaningful tobacco regulation. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement includes language that would allow corporations to directly challenge such regulations without the need of a sponsoring government, as is required under World Trade Organization rules. Most tobacco sold in the U.S. comes from giant multinational corporations that would easily be able to find standing as a foreign investor to challenge state laws. This presentation will analyze the threat of the TPP and other trade and investment agreements to state laws, and identify possible solutions that will both allow free trade and preserve states' sovereign right to protect public health.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Define the scope of trade policy and its impact on U.S. states' regulatory interventions to address the health impact of tobacco. Identify the challenges faced by US states seeking to limit tobacco use and impacts, when trade and investment treaties allow tobacco corporations to directly challenge domestic policy in international trade tribunals. Analyze the threat of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) now under negotiation, and other trade and investment agreements to state laws. Identify possible solutions and actions that may be undertaken that will both allow free trade and preserve states’ sovereign right to protect public health.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Control, Tobacco Industry

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Chair, Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission; cleared advisor to the USTR serving on the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Commission; panelist on trade policy and public health at legislative and public health meetings including Legacy Foundation, APHA, NCSL, NCOIL; stakeholder presenter at negotiations of the TPP in Chicago, Peru, and Virginia; drafted policy statements and convened national briefings sessions of state legislators, and provided comments to federal trade negotiators including comments on impacts on tobacco regulation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.