Honduras Appeals WTO’s Plain Packaging Ruling

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This week, Honduras filed an appeal to the World Trade Organization’s panel report on the matter of Australia’s plain packaging requirement for tobacco products.

Last month, a WTO panel upheld Australia’s tobacco plain packaging measures, stating that the four countries who filed complaints against them failed to demonstrate that they are inconsistent with the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement on the basis that they are more trade-restrictive than necessary to achieve a legitimate objective, which in this case is to reduce the prevalence of smoking and increase public health. The panel also did not find that Australia was in violation of existing agreements over the registration and use of trademarks.

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Honduras was joined by the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia in countries filing challenges to the rule that led to the June 28 panel decision. Ukraine also had filed a case, but later withdrew it.

The matter now goes before a three-member group of the WTO Appellate Body, who will have up to three months to complete its report. The appeal can only be based on points of law, such as legal interpretation, according to the WTO’s protocol for appeals. The appeal process cannot reopen factual findings made by the original panel.

The case stands to have impact well beyond Australia, as Ireland, the United Kingdom and Canada have all passed similar requirements for plain packaging, while Norway, Slovenia, New Zealand, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Romania, Slovenia and Thailand have proposals currently under consideration.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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