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US Chamber Of Commerce Lobbying Against Strict Overseas Anti-Smoking Laws

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The US Chamber of Commerce pushes to fight against anti-smoking laws, not only in the US but in the world at large, reports the New York Times. This action is said to safeguard tobacco companies and serve their businesses in the best way the group can.

Tobacco companies have been facing business challenges since a global treaty, coordinated through the World Health Organization (WHO), had been mandated in 2005. In the said treaty dubbed as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, countries all over the world are required to devise anti-smoking measures and restrict the impact of the tobacco industry in the government's' policy making bodies. The treaty has been upheld by 179 countries. During this trying period in the history of the tobacco industry, the US Chamber of Commerce stood by their colleagues and supported them amidst their worldwide battle.

Countries from all around the world created legislations in accordance to the global treaty and against the best interests of the tobacco companies. Because the impact of these new laws is too strong, the affected companies relied on the chamber for help, carrying with it a huge weight of American businesses. The majority of measures devised by the chamber may be concealed from the public, but the effects have been extensively experienced.

"They represent the interests of the tobacco industry," says Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, the head of the Secretariat that oversees the W.H.O treaty. "They are putting their feet everywhere where there are stronger regulations coming up."

The US Chamber of Commerce released statements in response to different inquiries. They said the chamber typically communicates with the governments of countries to ensure that official governmental measures do not exhibit prejudice to specific industries or companies, weaken their brands or break their intellectual properties. The chamber adds that they have reached out to a wide range of businesses inside and outside of the US to uphold these principles.

Tobacco companies may be given huge power over countries through the rise of controversial proposals that allow these companies to sue countries that breach commerce regulations. The chamber has expressed their disagreement for these companies to obtain such power because "singling out tobacco" according to the chamber's website, will "open a Pandora's box as other governments go after their particular bêtes noires."

The issue has a long way to go. According to a spokesperson from the US trade, the negotiators would guarantee that governments can carry out measures that can safeguard public health and protect the interests of the farmers at the same time.

Photo: David Wright | Flickr

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