AFUO continues to call on Ukraine to withdraw from WTO Challenge Against Australia on Cigarette Packaging Law

The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) has again called on the Government of Ukraine to withdraw its challenge at  the World Trade Organisations (WTO) in relation to Australia’s law on plain packaging for cigarettes.

AFUO President Stefan Romaniw raised this matter with President Poroshenko during his Australian visit last year, and again in February this year with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Verchovna Rada headed by Hanna Hopko, who  has since investigated this matter and supported the AFUO position.

In March 2015  Mr Romaniw and AFUO Public Relations Director Peter Shmigel again called on Ukraine to dismiss its involvement in this case.

“It is absolutely absurd that Ukraine which has next to no cigarette trade with Australia was the initiator of this dispute.” Mr Romaniw said.

“Questions need to be asked of those in Government now, who are persisting with this matter -What was their involvement  with the Tobacco industry prior to being appointed to Government positions.” Mr Romaniw said

“Ukraine has far more pressing issues and financial pressures today than being involved in this issue” Mr Romaniw

“The responses of some government officials at the hearing of the Foreign Affairs committee and in other responses are totally unconvincing and beg answers about transparency and conflict of interest.” Mr Romaniw

“By withdrawing its involvement Ukraine would  show that it wants to further strengthen the partnership with Australia and values Australia’s support at this critical time in Ukraine’s history.” Mr Romaniw said

In  2012 Ukraine Launched a  WTO Challenge Against Australia Cigarette Packaging Law Ukraine asked the WTO set up a panel to hear a dispute on “measures concerning trademarks and other plain packaging requirements applicable to the tobacco products”.

Ukraine’s statement says Australia’s law requiring that all cigarettes must be sold in plain packets is “more trade restrictive than necessary to achieve the stated health objectives and constitutes an unnecessary obstacle to trade . 

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