The Dominican Republic last week voiced concerns at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about the proposed introduction of standardized tobacco packaging in Ireland and the UK, according to a CAN story.
In a statement at the WTO’s Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Council), the Dominican Republic’s Ambassador to the WTO, Luis Manuel Piantini, noted the UK government’s announcement of its intention to submit a standardized packaging proposal to parliament for approval before the UK elections in May.
Piantini also noted recent statements by the Irish government that it would continue its consideration of standardized packaging legislation in the Irish parliament.
Since Piantini made his statement, standardized packaging legislation has been passed in Ireland and now awaits being signed into law by the president, after a technical vote in the upper house.
The Dominican Republic is currently in dispute over standardized packaging regulations with Australia, which is the only country to have introduced such rules.
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.
‘By stripping our brands and trademarks from packaging, the [Australian] policy precludes our tobacco producers from differentiating their premium products from competitors in the marketplace, which has been extremely detrimental to our industry,’ said Dr. Katrina Naut, the Dominican Republic’s director general of foreign trade, in a press statement issued through GlobeNewswire in December.
‘It is our hope that this case will be swiftly resolved at the WTO before other countries consider similar policies that have no impact on public health goals while at the same time putting the livelihood of our economy at risk.’