AG Gansler Opposes U.S. Trade Agreements on Tobacco Products
Federal officials urged to exclude tobacco from trade and investment pacts citing state and local laws and regulations designed to protect public health
Baltimore, MD (January 27, 2014) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, joined by 44 state and territorial attorneys general and The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), sent a letter today to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) urging him to exclude tobacco and tobacco products when negotiating all international trade and investment agreements. This would preserve the ability of state and local governments to regulate and reduce the use of tobacco products in the ongoing effort to protect public health.
"We oppose any international trade agreement that could interfere with Maryland's ability to enforce our laws and regulations relating to tobacco," said Attorney General Gansler. "We reject any activity that might weaken our ability to protect public health and the well-being of our citizens, especially children, from the dangerous and addictive effects of tobacco products."
Negotiations are currently underway for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and the USTR's draft proposal addressing tobacco would not adequately protect state and local regulation, according to the letter.
Quoting from the letter to the USTR:
"Experience has shown that state and local laws and regulations may be challenged by tobacco companies that aggressively assert claims under bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements, either directly under investor-state provisions or indirectly by instigating and supporting actions by countries that are parties to such agreements. Such agreements can enable these tobacco companies to challenge federal, state, and local laws and regulations under standards and in forums that would not be available under United States law."
The letter from Attorney General Gansler, NAAG and 44 colleagues can be seen by visiting: