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PMI ready to sue UK over plain packaging

| August 13, 2014

Philip Morris International is prepared to sue the UK government should it implement a law requiring cigarettes to be sold in standardized packs, according to a Reuters story.

Last week the government completed its second public consultation on standardized packaging; the first having been conducted during 2012.

Reuters said that in its response to the consultation, PMI had told the UK government, in part, that it was ‘prepared to protect its rights in the courts and to seek fair compensation for the value of its property’.

‘”Standardized packaging” is a euphemism for government-mandated destruction of property,’ PMI was quoted as saying. ‘It is unlawful, disproportionate, and at odds with the most basic requirements of the rule of law.’

The government said in April it wanted to implement standardized packaging after a review found it could reduce the incidence of children taking up smoking. It published draft regulations in June and launched a six-week consultation that ended on Thursday.

Meanwhile, it was reported last week that three EU countries had lodged objections to Ireland’s standardized tobacco packaging proposals.

Portugal, Bulgaria and Slovakia are said to have objected in recent weeks on the basis that the proposals are incompatible with EU rules on the free movement of goods and services, among other issues.

And in July it was reported that Ireland might have to pay ‘hundreds of millions’ in compensation to tobacco manufacturers if standardized tobacco packaging were introduced there.

The international research and equities firm, Exane BNP Paribas, which is backed by France’s biggest bank BNP Paribas, said it believed the tobacco industry had a robust case against standardized packaging – a case that would allow it to claim billions in compensation in Europe.

Category: Breaking News

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