One year ago on March 13 2012 Ukrainian government requested consultations through TWO TRIPS procedures to challenge Australia legislation on plain packaging.
In January 2013 Regional Advocacy Center LIFE sent an official request to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine regarding internationally well-known and rather controversial case on plain packaging.
LIFE sent a request in order to receive an answer on questions: what is the status of the case, who are the lawyers that will be involved into the case, and who finances them. Besides, LIFE wanted to check if the position of the Ministry stayed unchanged in hope that the newly appointed Minister would have other opinion to that case.
Recently we received a reply (attached) from the Ministry that clearly stated:
· The Ministry still believes that Australian plain packaging regulations “prevents Ukrainian producers from entering the Australian market”.
· WTO is in the process of expert group formation who will work on the case. That is done for the Ministry’s appeal an according to the internal regulations.
· The Ministry will provide their lawyers for this case.
Information about trade is nonsense as in earlier correspondence the Ministry said the tobacco trade with Australia is equal to zero. Besides that answer means that lawyer support will be funded from the state budget – tax payers’ money.
So, nothing has changed after the appointment of the new Minister. Ukraine (Ministry of Economics) has a firm position and is preparing for the further interactions against Australia. Due to the scrutinized economic situation and a certain diplomatic and political isolation there are few chances Ukrainian politicians would fight to stop this shameful practice now.
Advocacy center LIFE will continue monitoring the situation from inside and pledge to the TC international community keep us informed about any developments of this case.
Source: Regional Advocacy Center LIFE