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Design of cigarette pack in Australia: Ukraine asks WTO to resolve dispute about horrible pictures

September 10, 2012

Ukraine has addressed to WTO with request to convene Expert Council to resolve dispute concerning "measures taken in regards of trade marks and other requirements about unification of tobacco products marking". Australian newspaper Age writes about it. Request is associated with "draconian" rules of cigarette packs design that was approved by Australian Court.

Edition marks that Ukraine doesn't sell cigarettes to Australia, however here bases subsidiary company of Philip Morris International where work almost 1.5 thousands of people. And the right to lodge an appeal on behalf of themselves, corporation doesn't have right.

In Ukrainian declaration is said that Australian law that requires selling cigarettes in identical packs "applies more trade restrictions that are necessary for achieving the goal in the field of health care and is undesirable obstacle for trade".

Instead of accepting trial, how it is done when the matter concerns even less significant disputes, Australia has declined request of Ukraine, declaring that "this law is considered measure meant for achieving legal goals in health care field". However, refuse of Australia is more symbolic and will not cause any consequences. If on the next session Ukraine declares about its' desire to continue investigation, Australia will not be able to refuse it as it had the right first time.

Solution of this problem will take minimum several weeks during which Australia will have the right to require fulfillment of "draconian" rules for marking the cigarettes.

Let's remind that from December 1st Australia will be able to sell cigarettes only in identical packs that will differ only with horrible pictures of smoking consequences.

To dispute new rules without success tried all major tobacco manufacturers, motivating it with infringing the intellectual property rights. Supreme Court of Australia has declined claims of tobacco manufacturers, sustaining parliament decision to introduce featureless cigarette packs. In WTO with request of canceling this norm has addresses Ukraine as well. This law was disputed as well by Philip Morris International, Inc (PM), Imperial Tobacco Group Plc (IMT) and Japan Tobacco Inc.

It stands to mention that Ukrainian authorities have also activated smoking control lately.


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