Why do violations of FCTC Article 5.3 occur?: The case of tobacco industry incentives in Turkey
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Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health, Turkey
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A102
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Aiming at eliminating tobacco industry interference, Article 5.3 forms the backbone of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). By way of analysis of investment and export incentives granted to tobacco industry in Turkey, this research intends to demonstrate that the task of realizing Article 5.3 provisions often entails political choice between conflicting legal frameworks of FCTC and neoliberal capitalism.

Data for incentives for tobacco manufacturing were compiled and analysed through keyword screening of lists of Investment Incentive Permits (IIP) for 2000-2016 and Inward and Outward Processing Permits (IPP and OPP) for 2015-2016 as published in the Official Gazette.

Tobacco companies have received 30 IIPs, 39 IPPs and 2 OPPs in the periods researched. Granted pursuant to economic incentive regulations, but in stark contradiction to FCTC, and comprised of tax exemptions and financial aid, these incentives have increased over time, have been granted predominantly to transnational firms, creating vast new manufacturing capacities for cigarettes, waterpipe tobacco, and macarons (empty cigarette tubes). Production, consumption, and export figures have risen markedly in the same periods.

Incentives constitute a gross violation of FCTC Article 5.3, a key principle of which provides, "…the tobacco industry should not be granted incentives to establish or run their businesses". As the Turkish case shows, FCTC Article 5.3 may get violated and rendered completely obsolete, not necessarily because of political or bureaucratic weakness or inaptitude, but often on grounds of neoliberal policies and regulations. Political action is needed at national and international levels, to abolish tobacco industry incentives, strengthen effectiveness of FCTC implementation through supply-side measures which would allow Article 5.3 to take root, uphold FCTC as an overriding, powerful legal instrument, and operationalize and fortify its binding nature.

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