• May 26, 2024

Tobacco ban sought at trade talks

Five NGOs have called on Malaysia to exclude medical and tobacco interests from continuing free trade talks under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), according to a story in The Star.

The groups said the inclusion of medical interests in the free trade deal would not lead to cheaper medicines, while tobacco companies should not be allowed to benefit from trade deals in the first place.

The NGOs are the Malaysian AIDS Council, the Breast Cancer Welfare Association, the Malaysian PT Foundation, the Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control, and the South East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

SEATCA senior policy adviser Mary Assunta said tobacco companies should not benefit from such trade deals.

There were cases, she added, where countries were being sued for enforcing laws to discourage smoking and tobacco companies were claiming breaches in trade agreements.

The TPPA negotiations involve Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam. Japan is scheduled to join the negotiations later.