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.

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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