WTO To Rule On Landmark Tobacco Case Later Today
A World Trade Organisation adjudication panel will rule on Thursday on a dispute over Australia's tough tobacco packaging rules, widely seen as a test case for public health legislation globally.
The WTO said the ruling in the case, brought against Australia by Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia, will be published at around 1500 GMT.
The ruling is expected to be appealed, the WTO's chief judge has said.
The countries took the case in 2012, in response to the introduction of plain packaging legislation in Australia, the first country to introduce the measure.
Since Australia introduced plain packaging, a number of other countries have followed suit, including France, the UK, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland and Hungary.
Elsewhere, earlier this month, France announced that it plans to force tobacco companies to help end the scourge of cigarette butts that litter streets and contaminate water, unless they take voluntary action in the next three months.
"If no effective commitments are proposed by September, the government will force the industry to get involved in the collection and elimination of its waste," junior environment minister Brune Poirson said ahead of a meeting with industry representatives.
British American Tobacco, whose brands include Lucky Strike and Rothmans, said in a statement it would work with the government to educate smokers, and distribute pocket ashtrays. But it rejected new taxes.
"It is not up to companies, smokers or citizens to pay, via additional taxes, for the cost linked to the clean-up of cigarette butts," BAT public affairs director Eric Sensi-Minautier said.
Imperial Brands, which sells the French Gauloises and Gitanes brands, said it encouraged smokers to dispose of butts responsibly. It said it had no plans to alter its filters to make them less polluting.