Health preemption behind closed doors: trade agreements and fast-track authority. Noncommunicable diseases result from consuming unhealthy products, including tobacco, which are promoted by transnational corporations. The tobacco industry uses preemption to block or reverse tobacco control policies. Preemption removes authority from jurisdictions where tobacco companies' influence is weak and transfers it to jurisdictions where they have an advantage. International trade agreements relocate decisions about tobacco control policy to venues where there is little opportunity for public scrutiny, participation, and debate. Tobacco companies are using these agreements to preempt domestic authority over tobacco policy. Other transnational corporations that profit by promoting unhealthy foods could do the same. "Fast-track authority," in which Congress cedes ongoing oversight authority to the President, further distances the public from the debate. With international agreements binding governments to prioritize trade over health, transparency and public oversight of the trade negotiation process is necessary to safeguard public health interests.
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