Alcohol policy and trade treaties
Depending on their format, scope, and substance, international or bilateral trade treaties may infringe on governments' rights to regulate trade and protect the health of their citizens. Examples of such treaties include WTO agreements, bilateral trade treaties and bilateral investment treaties. This web page presents information relevant to national alcohol policy development.
Tobacco giant Philip Morris filed in 2010 a lawsuit against the government of Uruguay over their tobacco-labeling rules. In July an international arbitrary panel sided with Uruguay when it reached its final decision. “A ruling of great importance for health policies worldwide, not the least for alcohol control policies”, comments FORUT.
There are new movements in the WTO negotiations, also on the issue with the greatest relevance for alcohol policy; namely the Disciplines on Domestic Regulations. Below is a brief update.
The negotiations processes under the World Trade Organizations are now resumed, however only on an informal level or what has been called a soft resumption.
With the de facto breakdown in the WTO negotiations in the summer of 2006, there is now a freeze in all negotiation processes under the World Trade Organization. This also includes the negotiation on domestic regulations.