Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plain Packaging - Some debates

Interesting to read about two experts well known to WTO law enthusiasts - Joost Pauwelyn and Benn McGrady - argue, albeit in an academic setting, on the tobacco plain packaging case that has made its way to the doorsteps of the WTO dispute settlement process. While whether the measure of Australia's plain packaging is overtly restrictive on trade and violative of obligations under the TRIPS Agreement will be known only when the Panel decides the case, this case has nevertheless evinced a lot of interest in trade law circles for a variety of reasons as I have blogged here, here and here about it.

The latest news about UK dropping plans to introduce Plain Packaging adds to the series of measures (and non-measures) by governments in this particular setting. 

The Tobacco Plain Packaging case raises fundamental issues of restriction on trade, public health objectives versus international trade, intellectual property rights and permissible restrictions on them, domestic policy space to decide on policy objectives, determinants of justifiable policy objectives, employment versus health objectives and many more.

I agree with Simon, the mock trial should have a webcast (video link) for all those aficionados! 

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