On 4 April Honduras requested consultations with Australia regarding the 2011 Tobacco Plain Packaging Act and related regulations, requiring plain packaging on tobacco in an effort to address the severe public health problem related to its use (DS435). Honduras argues that Australia’s law violates the 1994 WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), as well as the Technical Barriers to Trade agreement (TBT) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which generally covers trade in goods. The request for consultations by Honduras follows only weeks after the request by Ukraine on consultations regarding the same tobacco control measures (DS434).
Public health in general and tobacco control specifically are topics that are very important to Norway. Tobacco control policies and preventive measures, such as the ones being proposed by Australia, have the legitimate objective of protecting public health by reducing smoking, and Norway believes that regulation of product packaging is a vital measure in order to achieve reduction in tobacco consumption. Norway wants to signal clear support to Australia concerning their right to introduce necessary measures in order to protect public health. Therefore, Norway has joined the consultations requested by Ukraine and the consultations requested by Honduras. Norway will continue to follow these cases with a very keen interest and is prepared to continue to defend the interests of public health.
Read more about the requested consultations on the WTO website.