Monday, May 20, 2013

Developing countries, livelihood and public health

I have blogged about the plain packaging dispute here, here and here. Amongst the many issues arising in the dispute, the one that is linked to the developing country development policy space debate is the impact it has on employment and livelihoods of those in the developing world that are dependent on tobacco production.Cuba's recent entry into the dispute has made this issue come to the forefront again.

Tania Voon and Andrew Mitchell do not agree with the stand that it is in developing countries interest. They have a summary of their arguments here.

The Trade, Investment and Health blog picked this up and has reiterated the position that it is actually not in the interests of the poor of the developing world.

Some observations:

1. How strong or legally tenable is the developing country employment and livelihood stand in a WTO dispute? Is there jurisprudence to support it? Or is it just a ideological argument not supported by specific GATT/TRIPS rules?

2. Who decides what is in the interests of the citizens of a country impacted by such a measure? Is it an objective analysis? Or is national policy will in determining that livelihoods are impacted the best judge? Or is it an international arbiter like a WTO panel?

Just these two questions for now.


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