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Big Tobacco Is Funding Opposition To Global Covid Vaccine Access

Major tobacco companies including British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International are funding an anti-regulatory, libertarian-leaning organization, Consumer Choice Center (CCC), that is working to restrict global Covid-19 vaccine access. CCC is mobilizing to defeat a proposal at the World Trade Organization to suspend intellectual property rules related to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. The WTO proposal is aimed at expanding global access to life-saving Covid-19 products, and reversing staggering international inequities. By funding its opposition, critics say the tobacco industry is undermining public health, which will have impacts not only during this pandemic — but the next one. The CCC supports a broad array of deregulatory measures, and the tobacco industry is, famously, a champion of deregulation.

Uruguay Wins Philip Morris Case, But Regulatory Chill Achieved

By Mercopress. “The Uruguayan state has emerged victorious and the tobacco company's claims have been roundly rejected,” Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez said in a televised national address. He was citing a decision by the World Bank's arbitration body, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, ICSID. The lawsuit at the World Bank investment disputes center marked the first time a tobacco group had taken on a country in an international court. The world’s biggest tobacco company — whose annual revenues of more than US$80bn across 180 countries far exceed Uruguay’s GDP of US$50bn, claimed that a 2009 anti-tobacco law damaged its intellectual property rights and hit sales.

Australia Wins Arbitration Over Cigarette Packaging

By Jarrod Hepburn and Luke Eric Peterson for Investment Arbitration Reporter. The Hague, Netherlands - A tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration has issued a decision dismissing a high-profile case between cigarette multinational Philip Morris and the Commonwealth of Australia. The PCA website indicates that a Decision on Jurisdiction and Admissibility was issued on December 17, 2015. A source involved in the case has confirmed to IAReporter that the tribunal has dismissed the investor’s claims of breach of the Australia-Hong Kong bilateral investment treaty. Subsequent to this, Philip Morris issued a press release confirming the result, and lamenting that the case was decided on the basis of “… a procedural issue that Australia chose to advocate instead of confronting head on the merits of whether plain packaging is legal or even works”.

TTIP Controversy: European Commission & Big Tobacco Uncovered

By Paul Gallagher in The Independent - The European Commission has been accused of a cover-up after refusing to release details of talks between its officials and the tobacco industry during negotiations over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty. Corporate lobbying campaigners published documents that revealed the EU’s executive body had met and corresponded with lobbyists from British American Tobacco and Philip Morris. But the documents, as released, revealed little else. Almost all the content, including the names of officials and tobacco lobbyists involved, the issues discussed and even the dates some meetings took place, had been redacted.
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