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Dominican tobacco claims right to branding in Australia

The Dominican Republic continues to lobby for the removal of the order for tobacco products to be sold in generic packaging in Australia. Director General of Foreign Trade Katrina Naut, who is representing the Dominican Republic in the case, said that the measure has not reduced smoking in Australia, which was the original reason for introducing plain packaging.

Naut told the press: “By stripping our brands and trademarks from packaging, the policy precludes our tobacco producers from differentiating their premium products from competitors in the marketplace, which has been extremely detrimental to our industry.

“It is our hope that this case will be swiftly resolved at the WTO before other countries consider similar policies that have no impact on public health goals while at the same time putting the livelihood of our economy at risk.”

The position of the Dominican Republic is that local producers have made enormous investments n including in intellectual property n to turn the Dominican Republic from a simple tobacco leaf exporter into one of the world’s leading premium tobacco products exporters. Industry sources say this is a significant achievement for a small developing economy and has contributed to its economic growth.

The plain packaging, nonetheless, puts this success at risk, as producers can no longer signal their premium quality to tobacco consumers, according to Naut.

The case has garnered global interest as its outcome could impact intellectual property protection for a wide range of consumer goods. A record number of WTO members (35 countries and the European Union) are observers of the disputes. Similar restrictions to trademarks are already being considered as means of curbing consumption of a variety of products around the world.

Source: DR1, Globenewswire

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 8, 2016 at 12:39 AM
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