We believe that freer and fairer international trade promotes prosperity
Our companies undertake some 800,000 cross-border transactions a year – involving raw materials, equipment and finished products – so effective international trade rules are vital to us. In fact, such agreements oil the wheels of the entire global economy.
These trade agreements are a complex web of one-to-one, regional and global rules negotiated by governments that seek to provide a fairer trading environment.
For us and many other businesses, the negotiation process presents an opportunity to argue for the elimination of trade barriers to improve access to markets, break-up monopolies and encourage competition.
Put simply, we believe that freer and fairer international trade promotes employment, lower prices, wider consumer choice, technological progress and, ultimately, prosperity. Over time it can contribute to improved quality of life and the elimination of poverty.
World Trade Organisation
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) plays a pivotal role. It is the only global body dealing with the rules of trade between nations and the only one with a dispute settlement panel. At its heart are agreements negotiated and signed by most of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.
The WTO Agreement, for example, calls for foreign products to be treated in the same way as domestic goods. The Agreement on Agriculture, which covers tobacco, calls on countries to reduce trade distorting subsidies and the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) agreement protects trademarks.
We support the considerable work being done to expand the organisation’s membership.
Tackling illicit trade
Smuggled and counterfeit goods are a serious problem for both trade policy makers and most manufacturers, including tobacco. We work hard to help stamp it out. Find out more in How we tackle illicit trade.