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Ukraine complaint against Australian "anti-tobacco" law will consider WTO

November 5, 2012

World Trade Organization (WTO) will form group of experts for contested trade case hearing among Ukraine and Australia about design of cigarette packs. It is said on WTO web-site.

Let's remind, on November 9th 2011 Australia has passed "anti-tobacco" law that from December 1st current year determines new requirements to design of cigarette packs. From December 1st cigarettes will be sold only in identical packs that will differ with threatening images of smoking consequences.

Packs of all cigarette brands will have olive green color (as local authorities have found out, it is the most unpleasant color gamma for smokers), but 70 % of front and 90 % of back side will take images, for example, of lungs affected with cancer.

According to declaration of Ukrainian delegation, this law "undermines protection of intellectual property rights" and "introduces serious restrictions on use of legal trade marks". "Ukraine considers that governments have to reach declared goals of health protection policy with the help of effective measures without necessity to restrict international trade and without intellectual property rights' denial", - representatives of Ukraine delegation have declared.

For the first time Ukraine side has addressed to WTO about cancellation of new rules of cigarette packs design introduced by Australia in March of current year. Later, in August of current year it became known that Ukraine together with Honduras and Dominican Republic has directed official request in WTO about Australian claims to tobacco products' packing.

Australia, in turn, has declared that this measure is "clearly nondiscriminatory" and doesn't have "more restrictive character than it is necessary for reaching declared goals".

"Big tobacco Companies have made everything possible to prevent realization of this reform. Our victory should become signal for entire world that tobacconist can be defeated", - was told in declaration of Ministry of Health of Australia. Experts mark that this example can really appear to be catching. First who can pick up the torch can be governments of New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain and also India and Norway that are already considering opportunity of introducing similar prohibitions on design of cigarette packs. Except Ukraine, claims to Australia have expressed Zimbabwe, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Indonesia. Australian position was supported by Uruguay, New Zealand and Norway delegations.

As was informed, Australia became first country in the world in which cigarette packs were deprived of coloring and logos. From December cigarettes will be able to be sold only in identical packs that will differ only with frightening images of smoking consequences. To contest new rules have tried without success all huge tobacco manufacturers motivating this with infringe of intellectual property rights. Victory of Australia over tobacco lobby can speed up adoption of such laws in other countries.


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