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Honduras complains against Australia's 'plain packaging' rules for tobacco products

Honduras announced last week that it was seeking formal consultations with Australia under the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement procedures. The small Central American state maintains that Australia’s public health law -- which requires tobacco to be sold in plain packaging --is in breach of its TRIPS obligations. The complaint is driven by concerns that Honduran tobacco exports will be adversely affected.

Honduras's announcement coincided with the end of discussions at the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  The proposed Convention, which will cover illicit trade in tobacco but will not be specifically directed at trade mark and intellectual property issues, pits countries with health issues arising from tobacco consumption against tobacco producing nations.

Source: William New, "Honduras Files WTO Dispute Case Vs. Australia Over Tobacco IPR", Intellectual Property Watch, here.

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