Cuba on 6 May 2013 has launched a legal challenge to Australia's tobacco packaging laws at the World Trade Organization, the Geneva-based trade body.
It is important here to note that Cuba has never before launched WTO litigation. Its challenge follows related complaints about Australia's tough tobacco packaging rules by Ukraine, Honduras and Dominican Republic.
Cuba has touched off a 60-day window for Australia to try to resolve the problem in talks with Cuba. After that Cuba could ask the WTO to appoint a panel of adjudicators to judge its complaint.
It was in December 2012 when Australia's law came into force banning cigarette logos and requiring packets to be plain olive green with graphic health warnings. It was seen as a model for others considering a similar move, including the European Union, India, Norway, South Korea, New Zealand and Canada.
So, in order to bring in the world's toughest rules on tobacco packaging, Australia had to win a court fight against cigarette makers British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco.
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