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Pushing ahead with packs challenge

| April 11, 2014

Indonesia has decided to ask the World Trade Organization to establish a single panel of trade and legal experts to process its challenge to Australia’s law on standardized packaging for tobacco products, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

Since December 1, 2012, Australia has required that all tobacco products be sold in packaging designed on behalf of the previous Labor government to be as ugly as is possible. Packs are hugely dominated by graphic health warnings, are otherwise a standard olive color, have no logos or other design features, and have brand and variant names in a standardized font and position.

Indonesia filed its request for a WTO-panel hearing in September last year.

The Ministry of Trade’s director general for international trade co-operation, Iman Pambagyo, said on Wednesday that the formation of a single panel to tackle Indonesia’s challenge separately from those of four other countries — Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Ukraine — was considered more likely to be effective.

The director general said Indonesia’s annual cigarette exports to Australia were not sizeable, but that such a measure as had been introduced by Australia could be taken up by other countries, thereby negatively affecting Indonesia’s sales on a wider scale.

“Plain packaging is adopted without scientific evidence or analysis and if we ignore that, this can be a precedent for any country to adopt a restrictive policy without a scientific base,” he said.

Category: Breaking News

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