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Thailand appeals WTO ruling over cigarette imports

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WTO HQ
REUTERS

THE World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Friday Thailand is appealing the decision by a dispute panel that determined the country failed to comply with the WTO ruling against its regulations on cigarette imports.

In a statement on Friday, the WTO said Thailand’s appeal filed on Wednesday pertained to the case brought by the Philippines before the Geneva-based organization, specifically “Thailand — Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines (Article 21.5 — Philippines).”

“Thailand filed an appeal on 9 January concerning the WTO compliance panel report in the case brought by the Philippines…. Further information will be available within the next few days…,” it said.

The appeal will be reviewed by three members of a WTO appellate body, which needs to be comprised of individuals not affiliated with any government.




“Each member of the Appellate Body is appointed for a fixed term. Generally, the Appellate Body has up to 3 months to conclude its report,” the WTO said.

On Nov. 12, 2018, the compliance panel report, which found Thailand unable to follow recommendations on cigarette imports, was distributed to WTO members.

Both the Philippines and Thailand were given the chance to appeal the ruling, given that it is based on law and would not require the reopening of factual findings that have already been reviewed by the WTO dispute panel.

The Philippines first raised concerns on the fiscal and customs policies of Thailand on importing cigarettes in February 2008. The case was decided by the WTO in favor of the Philippines in 2010.

But in 2013, the Philippines complained Thailand’s failure to comply with the recommendations of the WTO, which Thailand said in 2014 it already accomplished. The issue was elevated to the WTO dispute panel, which eventually found Thailand did not comply with the ruling. — Denise A. Valdez