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Welcome to tradeandtobacco.org!

Tradeandtobacco.org is an online resource center that seeks to assemble, build, and disseminate knowledge on trade, investment, tobacco, and public health in order to serve the needs of researchers, policymakers, and advocates in Asia. It is being developed by partners of tradeandtobacco.org as part of a research project made possible with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada.

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  • Featured Resource Materials

    Is health impact assessment useful in the context of trade negotiations? A case study of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

    By Katherine Hirono, Fiona Haigh, Deborah Gleeson, Patrick Harris, Anne Marie Thow, Sharon Friel

    BMJ Open


  • Featured Resource Materials

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Tobacco Carve-Out Precedent

    By Robert Ireland

    Global Trade and Customs Journal, 2016
  • Featured Resource Materials

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Is It Everything We Feared for Health?

    By Ronald Labonté, Ashley Schram, Arne Ruckert

    International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 2016
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Updates and Events

  • 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health to be held in October 2016

    The 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health will be conducted on 26-29 October 2016 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.


    The conference is the world's largest gathering of clinicians and public health workers, health programme managers, policymakers, researchers and advocates working to end the suffering caused by lung disease, with a focus specifically on the challenges faced by the low- and middle-income countries. Of the 10 million people who die each year from lung diseases, some 80 per cent live in these resource-limited countries.

  • India to host COP7 and first session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP1) in November 2016

    It is the first occasion that a COP meeting is being held in India and signals a strong and generous commitment of the Government of India to increase international co-operation and awareness of the WHO FCTC globally and especially in the WHO South-East Asia Region.


    The meetings, jointly organised by the Government of India and the Convention Secretariat, will take place at the India Expo Centre & Mart in Noida, southeast of New Delhi. COP7 will be held from 7-12 November 2016, with the MOP1 scheduled from 14-16 November 2016.

  • 11th APACT conference on tobacco or health set in September 2016

    The 11th APACT Conference on Tobacco or Health 2016 will be held on September 23-25, 2016 in Beijing, China.


    The conference will address the importance of tobacco control for health promotion and disease control. The representatives of the APACT nations or regions are expected to share their experiences and knowledge in the field of tobacco control during the event in order to further set forth the implementation of the WHO FCTC, and to contribute to preventing chronic diseases, controlling tobacco use, and protecting people's health in the Asian-Pacific regions.

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Video and Audio Collection

Explore our initial assemblage of multimedia resource materials, like video and audio lectures and webinars on tobacco, trade, investment, and public health.

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News Bits

  • International tribunal upholds states’ rights to protect health through tobacco control

    WHO FCTC, 12 July 2016 – An international tribunal has upheld the sovereign authority of states to protect health through tobacco control. The World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has confirmed that tobacco control measures applied by the Government of Uruguay did not violate the terms of an investment agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland, under which the dispute was initiated.


    The decision was informed by a joint submission or amicus brief, from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Secretariat. The brief provided an overview of global tobacco control, including the role of the WHO FCTC. It set out the public health evidence underlying Uruguay's tobacco packaging and labelling laws and detailed state practice in implementing similar measures.

  • Hats off to Uruguay, countries in ASEAN must not be daunted by Big Tobacco

    SEATCA, 12 July 2016 – The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) congratulates Uruguay in its historic win against legal challenges brought about by tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI).


    In February 2010, PMI filed a case against Uruguay with the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), challenging its comprehensive anti-tobacco legislation.

  • Uruguay wins dispute with tobacco giant Philip Morris

    AP, 08 July 2016 – Tobacco giant Philip Morris has lost an international dispute surrounding the sale of cigarettes in Uruguay and must continue to cover packs sold in the South American country with graphic warning labels and restrict its branding practices, President Tabare Vazquez announced Friday.


    In a televised address, Vazquez said the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes rejected a challenge by Philip Morris to his government's strict anti-smoking policies, calling it a victory for efforts to protect public health and his country's national sovereignty.

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ASEAN Economic Community

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is the goal of regional economic integration by 2015 in Southeast Asia. AEC envisages the following key characteristics:

  1. a single market and production base;
  2. a highly competitive economic region;
  3. a region of equitable economic development; and,
  4. a region fully integrated into the global economy.

The AEC areas of cooperation include human resources development and capacity building; recognition of professional qualifications; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement for the building of the AEC.

The ASEAN Leaders adopted the ASEAN Economic Blueprint at the 13th ASEAN Summit on 20 November 2007 in Singapore to serve as a coherent master plan guiding the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015.

Source: ASEAN website


Uruguay’s victory against Big Tobacco is more than just a local triumph

Enrico Bonadio, 15 July 2016, The Conversation

Uruguay recently won a landmark case against the tobacco firm Philip Morris International. The company sued the Latin American state after it introduced two measures affecting tobacco packaging: that graphic health warnings cover 80% of cigarette packets, and that tobacco companies adopt a single presentation for their brands – dropping “gold” or “blue” descriptions for example – that could lead smokers to believe one variant was safer than another.

In its lawsuit at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the Swiss-based tobacco company complained that the Uruguayan tobacco control measures violated a bilateral investment treaty between Uruguay and Switzerland protecting its brands. It meant that the company was obliged to withdraw seven of its 12 brands from the Uruguayan market including Marlboro Red, Marlboro Blue and Marlboro Gold.



Small country, big win against a giant

Mary Assunta, 14 July 2016, Malay Mail Online

Apart from its prowess at football, we hear little about Uruguay, a small South American country with a population of about 3 million. On Friday 8 July, Uruguay was handed a monumental victory after a six-year legal battle brought against it by Philip Morris international (PMI). Uruguay’s victory against the world’s largest transnational tobacco company is reverberating hope around the world especially for developing countries.

To protect public health, Uruguay passed legislation in 2006 requiring tobacco companies to apply 80 per cent pictorial health warnings to cover cigarette packs and limit the sales of cigarettes to only one variant per brand to prevent smokers from being misled into thinking one variant was safer than another. At that time, Uruguay’s 80 per cent pictorial warnings were the largest in the world and welcomed as a bold step by a small developing country.



Investor-State Tribunal Dismisses Philip Morris Case Against Uruguay Cigarette Packaging

14 July 2016, ICSID

An investor-state arbitration tribunal last Friday dismissed the claims of Philip Morris, the tobacco giant, against Uruguay’s packaging regulations for cigarettes.

The case was filed nearly six years ago under a 1988 bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between Switzerland and the South American country.



Uruguay’s Tobacco Victory Encourages Canada’s Plain Pack Proponents

14 July 2016, The Epoch Times

Canada’s efforts to force tobacco manufacturers to use plain packaging will get a boost from a recent decision on similar measures in Uruguay, health advocates said Monday.

The South American country successfully beat back an international trade challenge by Philip Morris International, which objected to rules requiring warning labels on 80 percent of packaging and restricting each brand to only a single product.



Plain packaging: legal win confirms right to regulate in public interest

08 July 2016, The Mandarin

An international legal finding against Philip Morris has confirmed the right of states to regulate tobacco, vindicating Australia’s leadership on plain packaging legislation and clearing the way for other countries to implement similar regimes.

The award released on Friday brings to a close a six year dispute between the global tobacco giant and Uruguay, with an arbitral tribunal upholding Uruguay’s right to do two things: prohibit tobacco companies marketing cigarettes in ways that falsely present some cigarettes as less harmful than others and require tobacco companies to use 80% of the front and back of cigarette packs for graphic warnings of the health hazards of smoking.



Philip Morris loses tough-on-tobacco lawsuit in Uruguay

Anthony Esposito & Malena Castaldi, 08 July 2016, Reuters

The World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled in favor of Uruguay on Friday in a suit filed by Philip Morris International seeking compensation for economic damages caused by the nation's anti-tobacco measures.

Uruguay imposed a ban on smoking in public spaces in 2006, as it raised taxes on tobacco products and forced firms to include large warnings and graphic images including diseased lungs and rotting teeth on cigarette packages. It also banned the use of the words "light" and "mild" from cigarette packs to try to dispel smokers' misguided beliefs that the products are safer.




Partner 1

  • Action on Smoking and Health, US
  • Harrison Institute, Georgetown University Law Center
  • International Islamic University of Malaysia
  • Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance
  • Vietnam University of Commerce