The Multinational Monitor


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Tobacco Pushers

In 1988, the United States exported 100 billion cigarettes overseas, but because of declining domestic tobacco use, the industry is seeking to expand its foreign markets further. The most recent target is Thailand, a country which currently bans the import of foreign tobacco. The Bush administration is using Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 to pressure the Thai government to lift its ban on foreign cigarettes, threatening to impose stricter trade sanctions on the country if Thailand does not comply. Section 301 gives the U.S. Trade Representative the authority to impose trade sanctions against any nation whose trade policies are "unjustifiable, unreasonable or discriminatory." Since 1985, similar pressure from the United States has forced Japan, Taiwan and South Korea to open their markets to foreign tobacco products.

Thailand has taken a first step toward placating the United States by instituting a three month experimental period during which it will allow the import of 10 million packs of five different brands of cigarettes: Marlboro, Winston, 555, Dunhill and Kent. To explain the policy shift, the Thai finance minister cites advantages such as increased revenue from excise taxes and a better ability to control the import of foreign tobacco which is currently smuggled into the country.

Not surprisingly, the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TIM), the country's sole legal manufacturer of cigarettes, opposes opening the market. TIM bases its opposition, in part, on the fact that while it had agreed not to advertise its products, in compliance with the government's anti-smoking campaign, the U.S. manufacturers will undoubtedly advertise heavily in the new markets. Health groups are worried that the number of smokers will rise in Thailand, as it has in Japan and Taiwan since the opening of the tobacco markets there.

Health organizations in the United States and in Asia, including the American Public Health Association, the Asian-Pacific Association for the Control of Tobacco and the Coalition on Smoking OR Health have sharply criticized the further export of tobacco products, citing estimates that 2.5 million people worldwide die each year from smoking-related diseases. And, in the U.S. Congress, Rep. Chester Atkins, D-MA, has introduced The Tobacco Export Reform Act, H.R. 1249, which would prohibit the United States from forcing other nations to accept American cigarettes and cigarette advertising.

South African News?

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," says Carolyn Craven, an anchor at "South Africa Now," about the half-hour "news" program recently launched by a Johannesburg firm, headed by a former executive of the pro-government South African Broadcasting Service (SABC). "Inside South Africa," appears to be modelled after "South Africa Now," a news program currently showing on a number of public television stations. "South Africa

Now" was created to fill the gaps in the U.S. news covet age of South Africa created by the South African goverr ment censorship of the press. (See Multinational Monitor May 1989)

"Inside South Africa," however, bills itself as the onl television news show produced "on the spot" by Sout Africans for Americans. It is produced by Global New Service in South Africa. Programs include reports shod ing how South Africa is instituting "democracy." Th program omits any mention of or comment from the ant: apartheid movement, and South African Broadcastin Service is one of the sources for the news stories.

"Inside South Africa" is carried by the Internationv Television Network (ITN) satellite feed which promote the two programs as a package. The president of ITN, Ca: Sabatino, says that he decided to put the shows that wa because he thinks it will make it easier for the viewers t compare the two interpretations. He believes that peopl will view the shows critically and decide for themselve which offers a more accurate picture of events talon place in South Africa. To help viewers make that judl ment, ITN now runs a disclaimer along with the shows. reads: "'South Africa Now' is produced in America an presents primarily the views of the Black majority. 'Insid South Africa' is produced in South Africa and present primarily the viewpoint of the white minority, the Afr kaaner."

Says "South Africa Now" anchor Carolyn Crave "even though "Inside South Africa" has few redeemin journalistic qualities ... it is dangerous because it aims, white-washing apartheid in the guise of news."

Apartheid Wages

Although opponents of complete U.S. disinvestme from South Africa cite the benefits of a U.S. present there, those benefits are not always obvious. The Soul Africa-based Black Mountain Mineral Developmel Company, 45 percent owned by Phelps Dodge Corpor tion of the United States, is enmeshed in a dispute ovc wages with the South African National Union of Mini workers (NUM). The workers at Black Mountain ai among the worst paid in the mining industry in Soul Africa and the NUM, which represents the vast majoril of workers in the country, is demanding a significal increase to bring wages up to the level at other mine Despite growing profits, management at Black Mountai is only offering a 14 percent increase, less than Sout Africa's current rate of inflation.

Participants in a conciliation board meeting on July were unable to resolve the dispute. According to Conra Bezuidenhout of the South African Embassy in Washing ton, D.C., the board "established that the employer wz not involved in an unfair labor practice" and the tw parties are still negotiating. The New York-based Afric Fund reports that the NUM is considering further actin possibly a strike, if the Black Mountain managemet remains unreasonable.

Divestment, Cont'd.

Working Assets Money Fund the largest socially responsible money market fund in the United States, has strengthened its investment criteria and, as a result, di-vested from four companies with ties to South Africa. Under the new criteria, parent/subsidiary relationships will be examined and Working Assets will exclude any subsidiary company whose parent company profits from doing business in South Africa. The fund's screening process is now consistent with the U.S. anti-apartheid movement's demand that companies completely divest from South Africa, including franchise, licensing or management agreements, as well as ties by parent or subsidiary operations. "Our divestment from these four companies sends a signal to corporate America to cut all ties to South Africa," said Pamela Swan, a research associate at Working Assets.

Among the companies from which Working Assets divested is First Nationwide Financial Corporation. Al-though it makes no loans to South Africa, First Nation-wide is owned by Ford Motor Company which maintains licensing agreements with its former subsidiary Samcor. Samcor sells Ford products through 146 dealers in South Africa. Swan explains, "We feel that indirect ties allow 'business as usual' and thus help maintain the racist regime."

The other U.S. corporations from which Working As-sets divested are: U.S. Leasing Corporation, also owned by Ford Motor Company; Boston Safe Deposit Trust, owned by American Express, whose credit card services continue to be offered in South Africa through franchise arrangements; and PACCAR Financial Company, a subsidiary of PACCAR, a truck manufacturer that licenses the assembly and distribution of trucks in South Africa.

States Lead on CFCs

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), car air conditioners are the single largest source of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere. CFCs escape into the air and destroy the ozone layer that protects the earth from the harmful effects of the sun. The EPA estimates that auto air conditioners account for as much as 25 percent of all CFC emissions in the United States. Air conditioners in moving cars tend to leak and consequently emit more CFCs than home air conditioners or refrigerators.

A bill proposed in the California Assembly would ban the sale of cars with air conditioners in California after January 1, 1991, unless manufacturers produce a cooling method that does not harm the ozone layer. Currently about 90 percent of the cars sold in California have air conditioners. The bill would also require that CFCs be recycled and ban installation of air conditioning units containing the chemical in commercial buildings of over 10,000 square feet. Richard Dugally, a California lobbyist for Ford Motor Company, said the automobile industry would support restrictions as long as manufacturers were given time to develop and test new refrigerants.

California is not alone in taking action. Vermont recently banned the use of CFCs in car air conditioners, beginning with the sale of 1993 model cars. According to Chris Jones of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, automobile dealers in Vermont were generally supportive of the ban, but auto manufacturers opposed it, claiming that the proposed deadline did not allow them enough time to develop and implement alternatives. Enforcement provisions have not yet been established.

Back in California, the Irvine city council approved an ordinance prohibiting the use of nearly all CFCs, but will not ban their use in air conditioners because no current substitutes exist. The ordinance will, however, require service stations and repair shops to collect and recycle the compounds.

Philip Morris Feeding Fears

"Police dragnets swarmed through the city, pulling smokers off the streets, out of restaurants and into jail," reports the July/August issue of Philip Morris Magazine. The article refers to an incident in Quezon City, Philip-pines where 400 citizens were arrested for disobeying a non-smoking ordinance. The "draconian" ordinance bans smoking in public places such as government buildings, cinemas, nightclubs, restaurants, libraries, schools, hospitals and other enclosed spaces, as well as inside private automobiles.

Dave Brenton, chairman of the American Smokers' Alliance, told Philip Morris Magazine that "Smokers are people, not criminals." Brenton ominously predicted, "American smokers need to take note. Soon they may be on the other side of a jail cell door, if anti-smokers' hopes are realized. We've joked about the cigarette police. Now it's for real."

But Mark Pertchuk, executive director of Americans for Non-Smokers' Rights in Berkeley, California, says that there is little danger of such an incident taking place in the United States. There are over 400 strong local smoking ordinances in almost every state of the country; at least 40 percent of businesses have workplace smoking policies; and 85 percent of U.S. domestic air flights are non-smoking; yet, few, if any, problems have occurred. Says Pertschuk, "ordinances are about as non-enforcement oriented as you can imagine," and they are not intended to harass smokers but to protect non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke.

According to Pertschuk, the arrests in the Philippines were a result of poor planning on the part of the city which failed to warn its citizens adequately about when the ordinance would take effect. The goal of Americans for Non-Smokers' Rights is not to have smokers locked up. Most smokers, Pertschuk says, are "law-abiding and polite" and only need visible no-smoking signs to alert them that smoking is prohibited.

� Katherine Isaac

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