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Implementation of plain paper packaging requires care

20 February 2013

Media release

Implementation of plain paper packaging requires care says NZ International Business Forum

The Government is showing admirable precaution in waiting for the results of a World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute panel before implementing plain paper packaging for tobacco.

“The Government has made clear it's intentions on tobacco packaging but is wise to make sure that implementation proceeds in accordance with international trade law. That should make for better regulations which will not need to be overturned later,” said Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the NZ International Business Forum.

“WTO rules need not prevent plain paper packaging for tobacco, which appears to be well grounded in science, but poor implementation could pose risks for other export products and place unnecessary strain on important trade relationships.”

The issue of plain paper packaging for tobacco is currently subject to a dispute taken against Australia but several developing countries in the WTO.

Mr Jacobi said trade negotiations like TPP were at this stage irrelevant for the packaging issue.

“TPP is a work in progress and any outcome will not apply retrospectively to matters being decided now. The Government is making these decisions for legitimate public policy reasons as they are entitled to do, provided the implementation is done carefully and correctly.”

ENDS

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