SPECIFIC TRADE CONCERNS
New Trade Concerns: preventing young people from
US — Clove Cigarettes
Indonesia expressed concerns about a new US
measure prohibiting cigarettes containing certain flavours (G/TBT/W/323).
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which entered into
force in September 2009, bans all cigarettes and their component parts
containing artificial or natural flavours, herbs or spices other than
menthol that give a product a particular flavour. At the meeting, Indonesia
expressed regret that the measure prohibits the production and marketing of
cigarettes containing certain additives, including clove, but permits the
production and sale of other flavoured cigarettes, such as cigarettes
containing menthol. According to Indonesia, the US regulation discriminates
against imported clove cigarettes and creates an unnecessary barrier to
In reply, the United States stressed that preventing young people from
starting to smoke is important for public health purposes. Flavoured tobacco
products, such as clove cigarettes, are particularly appealing to young
people and represent a “starter product” that can lead to regular smoking.
In the US view, clove cigarettes may also pose additional health risk over
conventional cigarettes. On discrimination, the US argued that there are
substantial differences between clove and menthol cigarettes, which make the
two products not comparable.
Canada — Additives in tobacco products
The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act entered into force in October 2009 and prohibits, among other things, the addition of various additives in cigarettes and other tobacco products sold in the Canadian market. All members (Argentina, Mexico, Switzerland, Colombia, the EC, Turkey, the US and Macedonia) supported the legitimacy of Canada's objective of protecting young people from tobacco use and addiction. Some members asked questions about the measure and others raised concerns. Some members were of the view that this decision could have an impact on their domestic producers and exporters and was far too restrictive. Some members raised concerns that there are other less restrictive means to protect young people from tobacco use: instead of banning additives, Canada could have prohibited products with a particular flavour. Some members also stressed that several types of additives used in blended cigarettes do not add a characteristic flavour to the product, but are an essential component that mitigates the strong flavour of Burley tobacco. The prohibition of these additives could have the effect of a de facto prohibition of blended cigarettes. Lastly, some members invited Canada to notify this regulation, according to the transparency obligations under the TBT Agreement.
Canada informed the Committee that this measure had been designed to address
public health concerns by reducing the incentives for young people to smoke.
Canada also stressed that it only prohibits flavours and other additives
used in cigarettes, not tobacco products. In Canada's view, there are
sufficient scientific elements proving that additives increase tobacco
addiction especially amongst the young population.
Previously raised concerns: poultry
EC — Poultry meat
Brazil and Australia raised a concern about EC
regulations on marketing standards for poultry meat. This issue was raised
for the first time in June 2009 (G/TBT/N/EEC/267). Brazil and Australia
argued that the proposal would alter the current definition of “fresh
poultry meat”. In particular, Brazil believed that defrosted and fresh
poultry meat are like products and that the EC proposed amendment would ban
defrosted poultry meat from the EU marketplace, thus discriminating against
non-EU producers, since distant suppliers had normally to freeze their meat
products for export. Australia questioned whether the EC standard is
consistent with existing international standards and suggested that the
European Communities consider alternatives to the current marketing
standard, such as including in the label a reference to “previously frozen
or chilled” product.
The European Communities pointed out that when consumers buy a preparation
that is labelled “fresh” they expect it not to contain defrosted meat. The
EC also stressed that the current proposal do not ban the sale of frozen
poultry meat, rather it restricts the use of the term “fresh” to poultry
meat that has not been frozen. Also, the EC noted that frozen poultry meat
only represents a very small part of Brazil's exports to the EC.
ADOPTION OF REPORTS
The Committee adopted its Fifth Triennial
Review Report (G/TBT/26). Every 3 years, the TBT Committee evaluates in
a report how the TBT Agreement operates and is implemented with the
objective of improving the Committee's work.
It contains substantive recommendations in five areas that will guide the
Committee’s work over the next three years:
The Committee also adopted its Annual Report
(G/L/895/Rev.1) and carried out the
Eighth Annual Transitional Review mandated in the Protocol of Accession of the People's Republic of
The next meeting of the TBT Committee will take place on 24-25 March 2010.