Forging a New U.S. Trade Policy on Tobacco
Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 7, 2011
4 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2012
Date Written: August 18, 2011
Tobacco is reemerging as a polarizing issue in U.S. trade policy. New trade agreement negotiations, the first launched by the Obama administration, and an upcoming UN summit on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are forcing the White House to choose between the tobacco debate’s partisans.
The United States need not exclude tobacco from its eight-country trade talks, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or harm U.S. economic interests in order to promote tobacco control. U.S. negotiators should pursue a four-part strategy in the TPP that reduces tobacco agricultural subsidies; promotes coordinated, stringent tobacco product regulation; includes an explicit health exception for tobacco control measures; and excludes Vietnam, a lower-income country involved in the TPP talks, from tobacco tariff reductions. There is strong U.S. precedent for each element of this strategy. If implemented, this strategy will achieve the long elusive appropriate balance between U.S. mandates on trade and its obligations to promote global health and standing abroad.
Keywords: Trade, Tobacco, Regulation, Global Health, TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership
JEL Classification: JE13, I18, G18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation