Australia – certain measures concerning trademarks and other plain packaging requirements applicable to tobacco products and packaging

Request for consultations by the Dominican Republic

World Trade Organization





23 July 2012


Original: English

The following communication, dated 18 July 2012, from the delegation of the Dominican Republic to the delegation of Australia and to the Chairperson of the Dispute Settlement Body, is circulated in accordance with Article 4.4 of the DSU.

I have received instructions from my country's authorities to request consultations with the Government of Australia pursuant to Article 4 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, Article XXII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 ("GATT 1994"), Article 64.1 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS Agreement"), and Article 14.1 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade ("TBT Agreement").

A. Measures at issue

The measures at issue are:

These measures apply to the retail sale of cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. The measures establish comprehensive regulation of the appearance and form of the retail packaging of tobacco products, as well as of the tobacco products themselves. Among others:

B. Legal basis of the complaint

These measures regulating the plain packaging and appearance of tobacco products for retail sale appear to be inconsistent with Australia's obligations under the following provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, the TBT Agreement and the GATT 1994:

The Dominican Republic reserves the right to raise additional claims or matters during the course of these consultations, and in any future request for panel proceedings.

The Dominican Republic looks forward to Australia's response to this request, and to fixing a mutually acceptable date for consultations.

1 The brand name and variant must be displayed in Lucida Sans typeface; no larger than 14 points for the brand name and 10 points for the variant name; with only the first letter capitalized; in regular font; in the colour Pantone Cool Gray 2C; and below the graphic health warning on the front surface of cigarette packs.

2 They must appear only once on the band and be displayed in Lucida Sans typeface; no larger than 10 points in size; in regular font; and in the colour Pantone Cool Gray 2C. The brand and variant name should be placed horizontally along the length of the band so that they run around the circumference of the cigar.

3 However, a cigarette may include an imitation cork tip that is printed brown, and is placed over a filter tip.