Ukraine Files WTO Complaint over Australian Tobacco Law

Ukraine, which is looking for opportunites to expand its tobacco exports, has asked the World Trade Organization to cancel new cigarette pack design rules imposed by Australia, Kommersant Ukraine reported on Thursday.

Australia adopted a law last November prohibiting the use of corporate trade marks and logos on cigarette packs.

The Ukrainian government claims the ban violates international rules on intellectual property. Ukraine sent the complaint on November 11, although the media has learned about this only now, the paper said.

On Tuesday the Ukrainian government sent a request on the start of bilateral negotiations with Australia.

From December 1, 2012, all cigarettes in Australia will be sold in similar packs of the dark brown color. The names of producers and cigarette class will be written in standard letters of the white color. The warnings about the danger of smoking and also photos illustrating diseases spread among smokers will occupy 75 percent of the pack’s front and 90 percent of its back.

Kommersant Ukraine failed to get a comment from Valery Pyatnitsky, the Ukrainian government’s envoy for Eurointegration.

A source close to the Ukrainian Economics Ministry said he was surprised by Ukraine’s complaint because the interests of Ukrainian tobacco producers were not affected.

According to the Ukrainian State Statistics Service, Ukraine does not export tobacco products to Australia.

Yelena Tishchenko-Tishklovets, a manager of British American Tobacco Ukraine, told the paper that the Ukrainian Tobacco Association had discussed this issue in the context of expanding Ukraine’s export possibilities.


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