A “carve out” means an exclusion of tobacco products from the rules and benefits of the trade agreement. In effect, it gives complete protection for governments to regulate tobacco without fear of being sued by the tobacco industry.
Some trade and investment agreements allow the tobacco industry to drag governments before foreign trade tribunals and demand that anti-tobacco regulations be removed or weakened. Oftentimes, these cases are not about winning but are instead meant to impose the huge costs of litigation on governments, which governments must pay even if successful in their defense. This serves to dissuade other government from enacting new legislation.
Unlike other products that can become harmful when abused or overused, there is no “safe” use or amount of tobacco. It is the only consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended. The tobacco industry seeks to increase consumption of tobacco, while ASH and its public health allies seek a higher level of global health. There is no “happy medium” to be found between the tobacco industry and the public health community.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a trade and investment agreement currently being negotiated between the U.S. and eleven countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. It will become the largest regional trading bloc in the world once completed. The U.S. is pushing for the right of corporations, including Big Tobacco, to directly sue governments in foreign trade tribunals. Learn more about the threat and opportunity of the TPPA>
Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
Negotiations for The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Agreement (TTIP) between the U.S. and the European Union began in July 2013. It will be even bigger than the TPPA when finished. Like the TPP, the U.S. is pushing for the right of corporations, including Big Tobacco, to directly sue governments in foreign trade tribunals. Learn more about TTIP>
The WHO estimates that 1 billion people will die from tobacco this century unless drastic actions are taken. One of those critical actions to take is carving tobacco products out of trade agreements. It is impossible to predict how many lives hang in the balance of the trade debate, but it is certainly millions worldwide.