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SAUDI ARABIA

Plain packaging on the way

12 Sep 2018. The Gulf country has informed the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it is preparing to implement plain packaging of tobacco products in the near future, Reuters reported.

The exact details on the new rules on tobacco packaging have not been disclosed yet, according to the report. Saudi Arabia will be the first to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products in this region.

Paul Garwood, a WHO spokesperson, commented on the country’s move saying, “There’s no other Gulf country that has implemented plain packaging, and we’re not aware of any other Gulf country looking to implement at the moment.”

This new rule follows a WTO verdict in June 2018 backing the plain packaging laws in Australia which Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic attempted to block because these countries claimed that the law would violate intellectual property laws and would overly restrict trade, Reuters reported.

Hungary, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Norway and Britain have already adopted plain packaging laws. Burkina Faso, Canada, Georgia, Romania, Slovenia, Thailand and Uruguay have passed laws to adopt plain packaging, but have not implemented the laws yet, according to the report.