Australia's Move to the Plain Packaging of Cigarettes and its WTO Compatibility

Asian Journal of WTO and International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2010

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 500

22 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2010 Last revised: 14 Oct 2010

Date Written: August 29, 2010

Abstract

Tobacco companies have expressed concern that Australia’s plain cigarette packaging initiative breaches international trade obligations. This article begins by providing a background to cigarette packaging. It then examines developments worldwide and in Australia that have led to this initiative, and finally examines the claim of cigarette companies that the move is incompatible with the TRIPS Agreement. It concludes that the general move towards plain packaging in Australia and elsewhere falls within the scope of permissible regulation under Article 20 of the TRIPS Agreement and that concerns about plain packaging violating the TRIPS Agreement should not prevent WTO Members from placing plain packaging firmly on the public health agenda.

Keywords: International Trade, World Trade Organization (WTO), Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Trademarks, Public Health, Tobacco Control, Plain Packaging

JEL Classification: F13, I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, Andrew D., Australia's Move to the Plain Packaging of Cigarettes and its WTO Compatibility (August 29, 2010). Asian Journal of WTO and International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2010, U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 500, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1667746

Andrew D. Mitchell (Contact Author)

Faculty of Law, Monash University ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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