Friday, December 13, 2013

How Tobacco Companies Use Trade Agreements To Prevent Poor Nations From Discouraging Consumption

The kinds of laws that exist in the US to discourage cigarette consumption might help poor countries to limit their number health problem.  Tobacco companies get more than half of their revenues from emerging market countries.  Consequently, they are doing what they can to prevent these countries from using the same methods that are used in the US to warn consumers about the use of tobacco products.  They are threatening to sue the poor countries by arguing that existing trade agreements will impose sanctions on them if they take steps to discourage consumption.  Many of the affected nations lack the legal resources to fight these efforts by the tobacco companies. 

Curiously, we have been paying a lot of attention to the struggle in the Ukraine to enter into trade deals with Europe that will discourage corruption in its government.  The Ukraine government is being used by the tobacco companies to argue that efforts by governments to discourage tobacco consumption are in violation of international trade agreements.  Its easy to understand why many in the Ukraine do not trust their government. 

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