Challenges to State and Local Public Health Laws from International Trade Agreements
Increasingly, multinational corporations are using international trade agreements to challenge public health laws that threaten their profits. In particular, the tobacco industry has been aggressive in using trade challenges—or the threat of such challenges—to deter countries from enacting tobacco control measures. Although to date most such disputes have focused on national laws, numerous bilateral and regional free trade agreement also give individual companies the ability to challenge state and local laws that allegedly violate free trade commitments (typically through an international arbitration process).
This presentation will discuss how international trade agreements might be used to challenge state and local public health laws and how public health practitioners can engage in the ongoing debate about the role of public health in such agreements. The continuing negotiations over the investor-state dispute resolution elements of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership make this an important and timely topic.
Learning Areas:Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Describe ways in which national governments or foreign corporations could use trade agreements to challenge state and local public health laws. Explain how public health practitioners can engage in the ongoing debate about the role of public health in international trade agreements. Discuss how state and local public health concerns may be implicated by the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Keyword(s): Chronic Disease Prevention, Policy/Policy Development
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor of public health and law with a focus on tobacco policy and chronic disease prevention. I previously directed policy centers that worked with state and local governments on policy development relating to tobacco control and chronic disease prevention.
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.