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Honduras Appeals WTO Tobacco Ruling

  • An ash tray with cigarette butts in Hinzenbach, Austria, February 5, 2012

    An ash tray with cigarette butts in Hinzenbach, Austria, February 5, 2012 | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 July 2018

Honduras formally refutes the World Trade Organization's precedent-setting ruling that favors Australia's 'plain' packaging tobacco law. 

Honduras has appealed a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling filed last month that sides with Australia’s 2010 law protecting companies for using "plain" package tobacco products.

WTO Sets Precedent: Rules In Favor Of Plain Tobacco Packaging

In a precedent-setting decision, WTO panel sided with Australia saying it 2010 law that promotes ‘plain’ packaging on tobacco products improves public health and doesn't infringe on the industry's intellectual property rights, denying claims by Honduras, Cuba, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic, that alternative measures would be equally effective.

The other plaintiffs in the original case - Cuba, Dominican Republic and Indonesia - have not yet said whether they plan to appeal.

The Australian plain cigarette carton law was introduced in 2010 and bans national tobacco companies from using graphic logos and cigarette package designs in favor of drab olive coloring that resembles military or prison issue items.

When the ruling went through in late June, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it cleared "another legal hurdle thrown up in the tobacco industry's efforts to block tobacco control and is likely to accelerate implementation of plain packaging around the globe."

WHO officials pointed out that six other countries – Hungary, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Norway and Britain – have already implemented plain packaging laws. 

Honduran officials already announced they would appeal as soon as the WTO made its June decision.

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