-- The WSJ: "The entire point of free-trade negotiations is to remove these political obstacles to investment and the movement of goods across borders. The tobacco carve-out is especially counterproductive because its economic importance is so small. The Obama Administration shouldn't let anti-smoking activists interfere with America's larger economic interest."
-- The NY Times: "On public health grounds, tobacco ought to be excluded from whatever rules are designed to increase trade in agricultural products. ... American trade officials need to toughen their stance when Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations resume. They should be siding with the public and those concerned about public health, not the makers of products known to be lethal and highly addictive."
-- Former USTR official Tom Bollyky (now at CFR):
"the administration should exempt tobacco control measures from legal challenge under the TPP in three ways:
- This exception must explicitly encompass the full range of tobacco control measures addressed under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and permitted under U.S. laws.
- This exception should be limited to nondiscriminatory tobacco control measures. An exemption from legal challenge cannot serve as a pretext for TPP countries to favor domestic cigarette producers. This condition is consistent with overall U.S. trade policy and the terms of the 2001 U.S. executive order on tobacco and trade.
- This exception must not include the cross-reference that exists in most U.S. trade agreements to the health exceptions in World Trade Organization agreements. Such references might inappropriately interfere with tobacco litigation already filed under those other agreements against Australia and other TPP countries."
-- Me: There's no need for a carve-out from anti-protectionism rules (such as tariff elimination), because protectionism doesn't make any more sense for tobacco than it does elsewhere; and there's no need for a carve-out from other rules (such as IP and investor-state), because any problems with those rules are broader than just tobacco.