Phillip Morris could sue NZ Govt under current trade rules

Press Release – Green Party

Phillip Morris’ legal action against the Australian Government’s attempts to introduce plain packaging for tobacco is a timely reminder of the perverse rights granted to foreign companies in our free trade and investment agreements said the …Phillip Morris could sue NZ Govt under current trade rules

Phillip Morris’ legal action against the Australian Government’s attempts to introduce plain packaging for tobacco is a timely reminder of the perverse rights granted to foreign companies in our free trade and investment agreements said the Green Party today.

Philip Morris Asia Limited (PMA), Hong Kong, today announced its intention to pursue legal action over plans to introduce plain packaging in Australia for tobacco products. PMA is taking action under Australia’s Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong.

“New Zealand also has an investment protocol with Hong Kong. Phillip Morris can use it to stop our Government putting in place cigarette plain packaging, as recently recommended by the Maori Affairs Select Committee,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“It shows how dangerous these investment rights treaties are when a multi-national company has more rights than a sovereign government to regulate in the interests of public health.

“If Phillip Morris is successful, the Australian Government may have to pay them billions in compensation. That means tax payers will be funding big tobaccos profits. That’s not free trade, that’s global extortion.

“Just months ago, John Key labelled our concerns about investor rights clauses in free trade agreements as ‘far-fetched’. This legal action by Phillip Morris shows that the risks are very real.

“New Zealand is currently reviewing our free trade deal with Hong Kong. We call on the Government to remove all investor rights protections so that we can regulate for good public health without the risk of Phillip Morris suing us.

“We also call on the Government to release the draft text of the intellectual property section of the TPP trade talks with the USA. We need to know what rights our Government is handing over to Phillip Morris in those negotiations,” said Dr Norman.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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