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National's smokefree commitment tested by Malaysia on TPPA

29 August 2013

Malaysia's tobacco carve-out from the TPPA tests National's smokefree commitment

‘The Malaysian government has tackled head-on the threat that the TPPA poses to smokefree policies by proposing a total carveout of tobacco control policies from the agreement’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey, who is currently in Brunei.

The Malaysian text was tabled at this week’s Brunei round of negotiations.

‘How New Zealand responds will show whether the National government is serious about its Smokefree 2025 goal’, Jane Kelsey said.

If claims that the TPPA negotiations are entering their ‘end game’ are true, New Zealand’s negotiators will have to decide quickly whether or not it supports the Malaysian proposal.

They will also have to respond to a largely meaningless text that the US has tabled on tobacco, after an earlier version was delayed and white anted by the tobacco industry lobby.

The National government has shelved the proposed plain packaging legislation that was part of its confidence and supply agreement with the Maori Party in 2011 until two challenges to Australia’s new law, in the World Trade Organization and under an international investment treaty. have been resolved.

Professor Kelsey pointed out that ‘the best way to minimise the risk that tobacco companies can hold our public health policies to ransom through these agreements is to ensure they don’t apply to tobacco control measures’

‘Of course, that doesn’t address the other ways the TPPA will threaten out public health laws. But it is a start.’

ENDS

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