On the Bottle: Health Information, Alcohol Labelling and the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement
Since 2010, the World Health Organization has advocated the use of health information labelling to inform consumers of the health risks related to alcohol consumption. The alcohol industry oscillates between opposing and supporting alcohol labelling.
This article reviews the minutes of the meetings of the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) (from 2010 to the present day) to garner unique insights into the specific features of alcohol health information labelling that are opposed by the alcohol industry. The article also identifies and analyzes the trade law arguments that are made against these contested labelling measures. These arguments primarily come from the WTO’s TBT Agreement.
The authors’ view is that the TBT Agreement will provide little comfort to alcohol exporting members who seek to rely on it to challenge alcohol health labelling measures, such as those discussed in the TBT Committee.