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Jakarta Post

WTO tobacco ruling: Implications if Australia emerges triumphant

  • Bryan Mercurio

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 17 2018   /  12:21 am

When Indonesia’s trade minister met his Australian counterpart last year, he made a light-hearted suggestion: Jakarta could impose plain packaging on wines from Down Under, and maybe even, gasp, insist that wines obtain Islamic-permissible certification for food and beverages.

The comments, said the minister, are a joke. But he added that they were “an expression of my resentment”.

This anecdote hints at what could head our way after a landmark World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling expected later this year. It comes some five years following a complaint filed by Indonesia and three other countries against Australia’s plain packaging policy for tobacco products. Under this policy, tobacco products are now wrapped in plain, neutral packaging and without brand logos or trademarks.

The move to plain packaging shocked Jakarta. As the fifth-largest tobacco leaf pr...