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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 81

Ukraine Puts Public Health First in Suspending WTO Challenge to Australia’s Law Requiring Plain Cigarette Packs

By Manjari Peiris

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Washington DC., reports that Ukraine’s new government has suspended the country’s case before the World Trade Organization that challenged Australia’s law requiring that cigarettes be sold in plain packaging.

This action is a blow to the continued efforts of the tobacco industry to challenge the world’s first plain packaging law by the Australian government, which was enacted in 2011.

Ukraine has delivered a clear message by suspending its case before the WTO, that the new government is making public health a priority over the interests of the big tobacco companies.

Ukraine has set an example that should be followed quickly by the other countries that have challenged Australia. This is another important sign to prove the lack of merit of the claims of the tobacco industry against Australia.

The former Ukrainian government initiated this action before the WTO with financial support obtained from the British American Tobacco, after the highest court of Australia rejected the lawsuits of the tobacco industry and upheld the plain packaging law in 2012.

Four other countries, viz. Honduras, Cuba, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic followed Ukraine’s lead and also challenged Australia’s law.

The decision of Ukraine to suspend its WTO challenge also aligns the trade policy on tobacco of the country with its strong domestic laws to reduce tobacco use, including a strong, nationwide smoke-free law, large graphic health warnings on cigarette packets, ban of tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships and higher tobacco taxes.

The Australian law requires that cigarettes be sold in plain, dull packaging, free of colour logos and other branding that encourages tobacco use. Earlier this year, Ireland and the United Kingdom became the second and third countries respectively, to require plan packaging, and other countries are considering such legislation.

Ukraine has struck a blow for the rights of all countries by suspending its WTO case against Australia, to enact strong measures that reduce tobacco consumption and protect the health of their citizens (Courtesy CTFK).

- Asian Tribune -

Ukraine Puts Public Health First in Suspending WTO Challenge to Australia’s Law Requiring Plain Cigarette Packs
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