Documents related to discussions between US, British and European officials and multinational tobacco corporations concerning the regulation of tobacco under a new trade agreement were censored by the European Commission.
This censorship has stoked fears that Big Tobacco is planning an end run around existing laws concerning the use of tobacco with the assistance of public officials working on the trade deal.
According to Paul Gallagher, writing today in The Independent, activists with Corporate Europe Observatory revealed the meetings through a Freedom of Information request, but the documents were heavily edited:
Almost all the content, including the names of officials and tobacco lobbyists involved, the issues discussed and even the dates some meetings took place, had been redacted.
TTIP is an agreement that parallels the corporate power grab knows as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but is limited to the United States and Europe. Like TPP, TTIP is written by and for transnational business interests looking to loosen regulations.
Among the objectives of TTIP is further deregulating Wall Street/finance capital, lowering food safety and environmental standards, and weakening trade unions. In other words, the same agenda Big Business has always had but with new legal, regulatory, and political tools to see their agenda achieved.
The new order brought in under TTIP and TPP creates opportunities for Big Tobacco. The further empowerment of the corporate sector under the trade deals means businesses can sue governments to weaken regulations. It’s something Big Tobacco has already started doing using existing international agreements.
In 2011, Australia enacted a “plain…