Cablegate: Framework Convention On Tobacco Control

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.






E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
(FCTC): Canadians Suggest We Reexamine Our Stance

Ref. (A) OTTAWA 1304
(B) SECSTATE 106632

1. This cable contains an action request, see paragraph

2. As a follow-up to the official GoC response to our
request for support on removing the Reservations Clause
(Article 30) of the FCTC (Ref A), Canada's Department
of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has
provided Embassy a detailed response to USG concerns
raised in reftel B.

3. The DFAIT document claims that the GoC has examined
carefully USG concerns, and in particular the areas in
which the USG had indicated it might take reservations
(Ref B). It offers the GoC assessment of three areas
in particular: Advertising, Promotions and Sponsorship;
Warning Labels and; Distribution of Free Samples.

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

4. Our DFAIT interlocutors note that initially, this
was an area that posed challenges for Canada as well,
given their own constitutional requirements. The GoC,
the documents states, "worked diligently to negotiate
wording that allowed for a constitutional "carve-out".
In our view the opening words in each of Articles 13.2,
13.3 and 13.4 provide excellent scope for governments
to take action that is consistent with their

5. The DFAIT document also points out "the U.S. has
previously ratified agreements with limitations on
advertising containing a similar constitutional
qualification. A constitutional qualification ("with
due regard to its constitutional provisions") was used
in Article 10 of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic
Substances, in the context of an obligation to prohibit
advertising of psychotropic substances to the public.
The UN commentary on this provision suggests that
Article 10(2) was drafted in order to require States to
prohibit the advertisement of these substances to the
extent that they are allowed to do so by their
Constitutions. No reservations or declarations have
been made regarding this clause, suggesting that the
qualifier has been sufficient to address the concerns
of States Parties (including the United States), which
include constitutional protections of the right to
freedom of expression."

Warning Labels

6. With respect to Warning Labels, the DFAIT document
states: "With respect to Article 11.1, we would note
that the United States has ratified other treaties that
have required legislative changes."

Distribution of Free Samples

7. The DFAIT document declares that: "Article 16.2 is
not mandatory, since it provides the flexibility to
simply "promote" the prohibition of the distribution of
free tobacco products to the public and minors."

Canada's Conclusion

8. The DFAIT document further states, "Based on these
considerations, our view is that the text of the
Convention should have enough flexibility to meet the
needs of the U.S. Government."

9. The DFAIT document notes ".a number of governments
negotiating in Geneva, particularly representing
developing countries, were concerned that if
reservations were permitted in the Convention, their
governments would come under intense pressure from
tobacco companies to enter a large number of
reservations and undermine the treaty. That is why
many governments resisted so strongly provisions that
would allow for reservations. We expect that such
concerns would remain, and that any effort to reopen
the treaty text at the World Health Assembly could be
quite divisive and problematic."

10. The DFAIT document concludes that the GoC ".would
strongly encourage the U.S. government to re-examine
the flexibility that exists in the current text and
make the best use possible of this flexibility. We
(Canada) would encourage the U.S. government not to
reopen the text at the World Health Assembly."

11. Comment and Action request: The points contained in
the DFAIT document follow closely similar arguments
made by the Canadian Cancer Society in its recent
letter to Ambassador Cellucci. While we hold out
little hope of changing the GoC's position prior to the
World Health Assembly (WHA) next week, we would
appreciate cleared points that we can use in responding
to DFAIT and to press inquiries which we expect as news
of our position on the FCTC begins to come out of


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