Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Groser must support Malaysia’s tobacco carveout


Groser must support Malaysia’s tobacco carveout at TPPA Ministerial on 22 Feb

‘Trade Minister Tim Groser must support Malaysia’s proposals to carve tobacco out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement if the National government wants to be taken seriously as supporting the plain packaging tobacco law introduced today’, according to Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey, who has written extensively on how free trade and investment treaties impede smokefree policies.

‘It must also reject the investor-state dispute settlement proposed in the deal’.

The tobacco industry has already threatened to follow the same path they did in Australia. Philip Morris has sued the Australian government directly under an investment treaty and the tobacco industry has backed a World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute brought by member states against Australia.

New Zealand is already exposed to such claims at the WTO and through a small number of free trade and investment treaties. The proposed TPPA would provide much greater opportunities to the notoriously litigious tobacco firms.

Treasury has reportedly said an investment dispute over plain packaging would cost $3 to $6 million. Presumably, that is only the legal costs of arbitration in dubious offshore investment tribunals.

Professor Kelsey predicted that New Zealand would be looking at paying tobacco companies tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars if the plain packaging law was found to breach the pro-corporate rules in these agreements. ‘That would have to come from somewhere, presumably the health budget’, she said.

The threat of such litigation is intended to scare the government off pursuing the laws or implementing them even if they are passed.

The ministers from the TPPA countries will meet in Singapore from 22 to 25 February.

Malaysia has proposed a carveout to protect all tobacco-related health measures from the TPPA rules.

That would protect New Zealand from US investors suing the government for introducing plain packaging and similar laws under special investor protections written into these agreements.

The US has proposed a self-serving exception that would only protect certain US rules and would not affect the right of tobacco companies to sue.

New Zealand has not committed itself to either proposal. It is also supporting a weak version of a public health exception for the investment chapter, which would not apply to these special investor protections. The US had opposed any such exception for investment.

The only way for New Zealand to protect the smokefree 2025 policy from the TPPA is to support Malaysia’s position. To protect public health policy more generally, it must reject the investor-state dispute settlement process altogether – and preferably the entire TPPA.
Groser must support Malaysia’s tobacco carveout at TPPA Ministerial on 22 Feb

‘Trade Minister Tim Groser must support Malaysia’s proposals to carve tobacco out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement if the National government wants to be taken seriously as supporting the plain packaging tobacco law introduced today’, according to Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey, who has written extensively on how free trade and investment treaties impede smokefree policies.

‘It must also reject the investor-state dispute settlement proposed in the deal’.

The tobacco industry has already threatened to follow the same path they did in Australia. Philip Morris has sued the Australian government directly under an investment treaty and the tobacco industry has backed a World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute brought by member states against Australia.

New Zealand is already exposed to such claims at the WTO and through a small number of free trade and investment treaties. The proposed TPPA would provide much greater opportunities to the notoriously litigious tobacco firms.

Treasury has reportedly said an investment dispute over plain packaging would cost $3 to $6 million. Presumably, that is only the legal costs of arbitration in dubious offshore investment tribunals.

Professor Kelsey predicted that New Zealand would be looking at paying tobacco companies tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars if the plain packaging law was found to breach the pro-corporate rules in these agreements. ‘That would have to come from somewhere, presumably the health budget’, she said.

The threat of such litigation is intended to scare the government off pursuing the laws or implementing them even if they are passed.

The ministers from the TPPA countries will meet in Singapore from 22 to 25 February.

Malaysia has proposed a carveout to protect all tobacco-related health measures from the TPPA rules.

That would protect New Zealand from US investors suing the government for introducing plain packaging and similar laws under special investor protections written into these agreements.

The US has proposed a self-serving exception that would only protect certain US rules and would not affect the right of tobacco companies to sue.

New Zealand has not committed itself to either proposal. It is also supporting a weak version of a public health exception for the investment chapter, which would not apply to these special investor protections. The US had opposed any such exception for investment.

The only way for New Zealand to protect the smokefree 2025 policy from the TPPA is to support Malaysia’s position. To protect public health policy more generally, it must reject the investor-state dispute settlement process altogether – and preferably the entire TPPA.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news