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Big Tobacco Abroad

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the downside to free trade.

…According to the World Health Institute, “nearly 80 percent of the world’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.” Multinational corporations are seeking their own Treaty of Nanjing: they are using free trade agreements to usurp national sovereignty and stymy economic development. Tobacco kills six million people each year, and if current trends continue, it will kill one billion people in the twenty-first century.

Enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This free trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and ten Asian-Pacific countries is currently in negotiation, but has been dragged out far past its deadline (and slowed by the President’s lack of “fast track” authority). The TPP covers 40 percent of U.S. exports and imports and may well be the most under-reported story this year.

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