Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador Mothusi Palai (Botswana)
431. Nicaragua would like to express its support for the Dominican Republic statement with respect to plain packaging for tobacco. This is a matter of great concern to my country, given that such a measure could have a negative effect on our economy with respect to tobacco products. Countries that export tobacco and tobacco products like Nicaragua do have concerns in this respect. Nicaragua has raised its concerns wherever relevant within the WTO. The Nicaraguan productive sector generates more than 30,000 jobs directly or indirectly in this sector and some 180,000 people are involved in general terms, so that is why we would oppose any trade restrictive measures not based on sound science and on international treaty obligations such as those under the auspices of the WTO. 432. We cannot support such measures – this type of legislation is currently before the Dispute Settlement Body and it is the feeling of those who have lodged a complaint that this measure goes against three of the WTO's agreements. This is a matter which is reflected by the fact that more than 40 Members are third parties to this dispute, which is the highest number to any WTO dispute. As we have already said, we fully endorse public health protective measures with respect to tobacco and we do have a legal framework to that end. However, we cannot favour any regulation that would restrict trade more than necessary. In this respect, my delegation would once again urge the UK and Ireland to refrain from adopting plain packaging measures until there has been a result from the panel that was set up at the request of Cuba, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Ukraine and others.
The Council took note of the statements made.
12.1. The Chairman said that this item had been put on the agenda at the written request by the delegation of the Dominican Republic.

12.2. The representatives of the Dominican Republic; the European Union; Nicaragua; Honduras; Cuba; Indonesia; Nigeria; Zimbabwe; Australia; Uruguay; Canada; Norway; New Zealand; and the World Health Organization took the floor.

12.3. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/78, IP/C/M/78/Add.1