Thursday, 19 July 2012

Dominican Republic notifies WTO over Australian plain packaging rules

A World Trade Organization media release records that the Dominican Republic has taken its first step towards challenging Australia's controversial new plain packaging law. It states as follows:
On 18 July 2012, the Dominican Republic notified the WTO Secretariat of a request for consultations with Australia “on certain measures concerning trademarks, geographical indications and other plain packaging requirements applicable to tobacco products and packaging”. In March and April 2012, Ukraine and Honduras requested consultations with Australia on this issue. Several other countries have requested to join the consultations".
As the illustration shows, the packaging is not actually plain, but almost all branding and other signs of corporate badging are removed, allowing the manufacturer to reproduce the brand name in print of a specified size along with warnings as to the very considerable dangers that attach to tobacco use.  The tobacco lobby has protested vigorously against this, and the tobacco-producing countries have expressed concern regarding the impact of anti-tobacco policies upon products that are vital to their economies.

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