E-cig bans ‘break world trade rules’, Global Forum to be told

Trade barriers against e-cigarettes, or the outright banning of vapour products, contravene world trading regulations, delegates will hear at next week’s Global Forum on Nicotine.

Marina Foltea, managing director of Geneva-based investment consultancy Trade Pacts, will tell the GFN event in Warsaw: “Banning e-cigarettes from the market is an act of discrimination according to international trade rules.”

Foltea claims 23 countries – including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Singapore and Thailand – currently ban e-cigarettes. And she says this goes against article IX of the 1994 World Trade Organization (WTO) General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

“If two products are ‘like’, a country can’t treat one better than the other one”, says Foltea, insisting that e-cigarettes are sufficiently like traditional tobacco to benefit from similarly free international trade.

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    Foltea agrees that vaping products need regulation but believes banning them goes too far, both legally and ethically.

    She told ECigIntelligence: “Countries should not create excessive barriers or border tariffs for products that enter the national market, including e-cigarettes. E-cig companies and associations can push governments to make a claim [against] other governments that ban the trade of e-cigs.

    “History shows that people stood up for cigarettes, which are much more contentious products. Why are they not going to stand up for e-cigarettes, which are healthier?”

    – David Palacios ECigIntelligence staff

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    David Palacios Rubio

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