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1/11—A WTO appeal has upheld a first-stage “panel” ruling that Australia was fully within its rights to require tobacco products to be sold in uniform plain packaging, with no distinct branding.

The decision will be welcomed by health activists.…
2/11—Today’s appeal report:….

Next: adoption by the membership

Not a bad way to say farewell.

The Appellate Body has no quorum—only one judge since Dec 20. It was allowed to complete work on a handful of reports that were dearly done. This is the last. Screenshot of the top of the report’s first pageScreenshot of the final section 7.4 Recommendation, with signatures
3/11—What are Australia’s plain packaging rules?

Uniform dull packaging, large warning, brandnames in uniform typeface, no logos

Guide and images:… Screenshot of the page setting out the specifications the front of a cigarette pack with an image
4/11—The cases in the WTO accused Australia of violating companies’ rights to market products using branding (trademarks) and geographical indications (such as “Cuban” cigars), and of setting labelling requirements that were too restrictive for what they aimed to achieve Screenshot: The main WTO agreements involved in the plain packaging disputes: Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) — trademarks, geographical indications; Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) —labelling and regulations
5/11—Originally, there were five cases.

DS434 was brought by Ukraine, puzzling most observers. Ukraine does not export tobacco products to Australia.

Ukraine let the case lapse before panellists were appointed for the first-stage dispute hearings… Screenshot of the top of the linked page
6/11—The first-stage panel reports were merged for all the remaining four cases and ruled in favour of Australia on all points: “The complainants had not demonstrated that …”.

Summary of key findings:… Screenshot of summary of key panel findings, down to point fScreenshot of summary of key panel findings, from point g to the end, continuing with paragraph 11 of the linked page
7/11—Two cases were not appealed, so the first-stage panel reports were adopted by the WTO membership in the Dispute Settlement Body.

DS458: brought by Cuba…
DS467: brought by Indonesia… Screenshot of the top of the linked page for DS458Screenshot of the top of the linked page for DS467
8/11—The first-stage panel rulings were appealed in two cases

DS435 brought by Honduras…
DS441 brought by Dominican Rep… Screenshot of the top of the linked page for DS435Screenshot of the top of the linked page for DS441
9/11—The appeal report upheld the first-stage panel ruling on all counts.…. Screenshot of section 7.4 Recommendations and the 3 signatures on the final page
10/11—This brings to an end cases first filed in 2012, 8 yrs ago.

The discussion in the WTO dates back to 2011, in the “TRIPS” Council (intellectual property—for trademarks and geographical indications) and the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (for labelling) Graphic showing activity on the issue from 2011 in the TRIPS Council, TBT Committee and dispute settlement
11/11—The case is being watched around the world, not least because similar regulations have been introduced or are planned in New Zealand, France, Ireland, the UK and elsewhere

Finally, here’s a fun summary from Jon Oliver from three years ago:
Typos: "dearly" should be "nearly". Mr Oliver is John, not Jon. Probably loads more
P.S. A friend kindly sent me this link to a 5-page pdf document listing all the countries that have implemented plain packaging. A few are in the process. With a lot of additional detail.… Screenshot of the top of the first page, with
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