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Smoke and Mirrors in Trade Disputes will Harm Public Health
East Asia Forum (2014)
  • Matthew Rimmer, Australian National University College of Law
The 2014 World Cancer Report, issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), indicates that the number of new cancer cases has reached an all-time high. On the 19 May 2014, Dr Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, gave a stirring speech to the 67th Health Assembly on the heavy health burden associated with cancer. Chan was particularly interested in public health measures designed to combat the global tobacco epidemic.
Chan expressed her opposition to the use of investor-state dispute settlement clauses by Big Tobacco ‘to handcuff governments’, particularly in respect of lost profits following the introduction of cigarette packaging designed to reduce smoking. In a similar vein, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has warned that investor-state provisions give companies ‘a new place to take disputes — a tribunal that stands separate from and above domestic legal systems’. Philip Morris, an American tobacco and cigarette company, has challenged Uruguay’s graphic health warnings for tobacco products under an investment agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland,as well as Australia’s plain packaging of tobacco products under an investment agreement between Australia and Hong Kong.
  • Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products,
  • Investor-State Dispute Settlement,
  • World Trade Organization,
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership
Publication Date
May 29, 2014
Citation Information
Matthew Rimmer. "Smoke and Mirrors in Trade Disputes will Harm Public Health" East Asia Forum (2014)
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