Govt 'wasted budget' on WTO tobacco packaging dispute, says YLKI
Marguerite Afra Sapiie
The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) has criticized the government for “wasting the state budget” on challenging Australia’s plain tobacco packaging law in a recent trade dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The WTO rejected last week a complaint Indonesia and three other countries – Cuba, Honduras and the Dominican Republic – filed against Australia, concluding that the Australian policy did not violate fair trade rules and it helped reduce tobacco consumption.
In the dispute, the four countries argued that Australia’s plain packaging policy had violated the tobacco companies' trademarks and intellectual property rights.
“The case incurred financial losses [to Indonesia] because the government spent money from the state budget to hire an international lawyer,” YLKI chairman Tulus Abadi said on Thursday.
The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) should audit the funds the government had spent on hiring the lawyer, he added.
Tulus said the WTO decision was foreseeable and accused the government of not supporting international campaigns on reducing tobacco consumption.
Plain tobacco packaging is part of a global tobacco control campaign that aims to deter smoking by removing positive associations of cigarette brands with tobacco consumption. It requires all branding to be removed from cigarette packs and mandates health warnings and standardized packaging.
Australia reportedly became the first country to introduce the plain cigarette packaging law, which it enacted in 2011. Several other countries have since followed suit. (ipa)
- BLACKPINK’s Jennie sets records with ‘Solo’ videos
- A father’s love: Wiranto explains why his daughter wears niqab
- Jokowi won't grant Nuril amnesty
- Indonesia mosques spreading radicalism to government workers: Official
- Indonesia's latest economic stimulus package: What you need to know
- AirAsia to move international operations to Soekarno-Hatta airport Terminal 2
- 6 kg of garbage found in dead whale's stomach in Wakatobi
- Nissan’s Ghosn arrested over financial law violation
- Palm oil industry calls on govt to take 'firm' action against Greenpeace
- Here are 10 of the most populated cities in the world