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Ujal Singh Bhatia, chairman of the World Trade Organization’s appellate body, has said he expects Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Indonesia to appeal against the WTO’s yet-to-be-publicized ruling on Australia’s law on standardized tobacco packaging, according to a Bloomberg story relayed by the TMA.
The ruling will apparently say that the law was a legitimate public health measure and did not constitute an illegal barrier to trade.
Bhatia said once an appeal was triggered, the WTO appellate body was required to consider the matter and issue a ruling within 90 days.
However, he added that the timeline might be extended because of the complexity of the dispute and a shortage of panelists in the WTO’s appellate system.
The countries alleged that the measure imposed ‘unfair’ restrictions on the use of trademarks, geographical indications and other markings in violation of several WTO agreements.
The WTO has yet to circulate publicly its final dispute ruling, partly because of the time required to translate the ruling.