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Columbus Dispatch: Sherrod Brown says trade deal could jeopardize anti-smoking efforts

In a letter sent yesterday to the Obama administration in advance of negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Ohio Democrat complained about the decision to drop a provision that would have allowed countries to regulate tobacco within their borders. The treaty involves 12 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia and Peru.

The U.S. had originally pushed for a “safe harbor” provision that would effectively quash efforts by tobacco companies to use trade rules to challenge anti-smoking efforts. But the administration backed away from that provision last month.

Brown said the administration’s decision would allow tobacco companies to mount challenges to individual nation’s tobacco restrictions by using trade law.

“We are not demonstrating global public-health leadership by putting forward a proposal that allows tobacco companies a back door to undermine anti-tobacco safeguards,” he said.

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