Trade and investment issues

At its two most recent sessions, the Conference of the Parties (COP) has adopted decisions concerning the relationships between the WHO FCTC and international trade and investment law, and their implications for implementation of the Convention.

In November 2012, COP5 adopted decision FCTC/COP5(15) on cooperation between the Convention Secretariat, WHO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This decision built on the decision taken by COP4 in 2010 on cooperation between the Convention Secretariat and the WTO (decision FCTC/COP4(18)), and took note of the report by the WHO Secretariat on cooperation with the WTO on trade-related tobacco-control issues (document FCTC/COP/5/12) and the WHO Secretariat’s 2012 paper, Confronting the tobacco epidemic in a new era of trade and investment liberalization.

The COP’s decisions in this area are aimed at supporting Parties in implementing the Convention by, inter alia, facilitating information sharing on trade-related issues, including between Parties to the WHO FCTC, and furthering cooperation between the Convention Secretariat and relevant international organizations in this area.

In related developments, COP4 adopted the Punta del Este Declaration, and COP5 the Seoul Declaration. Through these decisions the Parties declared their firm commitment to prioritize the implementation of health measures designed to control tobacco consumption in their respective jurisdictions, and their determination not to allow tobacco industry interference to slow or prevent the development and implementation of tobacco control measures in the interests of public health and in accordance with the Convention.