Monday, 23 April 2012

Tobacco: Double standards are the rule

The US government has moved against tobacco smoking domestically but intervened aggressively to protect their tobacco industry in countries like Thailand.

US group warns of consequences of plain packaged tobacco
United States lobby groups are warning that imports of New Zealand wine and dairy foods could be at risk if New Zealand commits to plain packaging of tobacco products.

23 April, 2012

The Government has agreed in principle to the move, with public consultation due to begin later this year.

The statement has been issued by six organisations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue, the National Association of Manufacturers, the United States Council for International Business and the National Foreign Trade Council.

The statement says the New Zealand Government is considering the destruction of legitimate trademark protection and branding, which are protected by laws and international treaties.

It also says the move is troubling, coinciding as it does with talks aimed at boosting free trade between the two countries.

It warns New Zealand to consider the consequences for exports such as dairy and wine.

Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey says the US groups involved are behind the push for the Trans Pacific Partnership, through which they hope to secure the right to sue governments which tamper with intellectual property rights.

She says the tobacco companies who belong to some of these groups are already suing the Australian government over the issue.

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