Issues related to the production and sale of clove cigarettes will be discussed Friday at the meeting of the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement body (DSU). Specifically, the dispute settlement body will address “recourse to article 22.2 of the DSU by Indonesia (WT/DS406/12).”
Under the Family Smoking and Prevention Act of 2009, the U.S. bans the sale of clove cigarettes – 99 percent of which are made in Indonesia – and candy-flavored cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes sold in the U.S. are nearly all made in the U.S. and are not targeted by the Act. Consequently, Indonesia filed the complaint against the United States, charging that the ban on this major Indonesia export was discriminatory under WTO guidelines.
In a memo to the WHO, Indonesia outlined its contention that the U.S. ban “creates an unnecessary obstacle to trade in that the United States has available to it less trade-restrictive means to accomplish the objectives of the act.” The U.S. claims the ban should be upheld because it targets a product rather than any particular country.
In April 2012, the WHO upheld an earlier finding that the ban on clove cigarettes favored domestic producers and, therefore, violated international trade rules. The U.S. committed to implementing the WHO guidelines by July 24, 2013.
When announcing the enactment of the Tobacco Control Act in March 2010 in the Federal Register, Congress considered tobacco use a pediatric disease because, “Virtually all new users of tobacco products are under the minimum legal age to purchase such products.”
Teenage cigarette smoking declined 33 percent the first year the Act was in effect, but the most recent (2012) report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that other forms of tobacco use have increased to 10 percent of all tobacco products sold, up from 3 percent.