Indonesia, Cuba Do Not Appeal WTO Plain-Packaging Ruling 27/08/2018 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The governments of Cuba and Indonesia today chose not to appeal a June ruling at the World Trade Organization that upheld Australia’s law requiring tobacco products sold in the country to be packaged without logos or other trademarked designs. That leaves Honduras and the Dominican Republic alone in their appeals of the decision. At the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting today,neither Cuba nor Indonesia appealed the panel ruling, letting it stand in relation to their cases as the DSB adopted the report. Cuba had accusatory words for Australia and the dispute settlement panel in the case, and said that because of these, it would not pursue the appeal, according to a copy of its statement. It did not admit wrong or agree to make changes to its practices. Cuba said tobacco accounts for some 9 percent of its exports and that the adoption of “generic” packaging measures affects its legitimate economic interests and is not proportional. It argued that there is still no evidence or proof that the plain packaging measures are working to stop tobacco use or improve health in the country. The Cuban government accused Australia of causing “down-trading” by tobacco users as there is no distinction between tobacco products any longer, rather than actually reducing smoking. It repeated assertions about specific WTO agreements, including a reference to protection of geographical indications. Cuba called the panel’s report “very deceiving,” said it relied on fundamentally non-objective analysis, and that it was structured to reach a predetermined outcome. “In other words,” it said, the report was subjected to “reverse engineering.” Notwithstanding its serious concerns about the report, the country chose not to participate in the next phase. Indonesia reportedly also indicated its displeasure with the ruling but chose not to appeal. Australia, for its part, praised the panel for confirming that WTO rules do not inhibit the right of members to “implement legitimate, non-discriminatory public health measures.” It also noted the number of other countries which have since adopted their own plain packaging laws, including the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Hungary and Slovenia. It named others that are currently working to adopt such measures, including Canada, Uruguay, Singapore, Belgium and Chile. Canada, a third party to the case, applauded the panel’s decision, saying it reflects a “careful balance struck between rights and obligations to facilitate trade and a Member’s right to take legitimate public health measures.” Canada confirmed it is currently working to adopt plain packaging measures. Honduras, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia had each brought a case against Australia after it implemented its tobacco plain-packaging law in 2012. Their cases were eventually joined together and the decision came in June. Honduras appealed in July, and the Dominican Republic appealed on the eve of today’s meeting. Image Credits: -Oncology News Australia Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."Indonesia, Cuba Do Not Appeal WTO Plain-Packaging Ruling" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.