Verband der deutschen Rauchtabakindustrie
VdR Verband der deutschen Rauchtabakindustrie e.V.
German Smoking Tobacco Association
VdR . Rheinallee 25 . D-53173 Bonn
via E-Mail: email@example.com
Assistant Secretary, Tobacco Control Taskforce
Attention: Tobacco Reform Section
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
Canberra, ACT 2606
Response of the German Smoking Tobacco Association on proposed design features for the plain packaging for non-cigarette tobacco
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we very much appreciate once more to have the opportunity to submit our response on the introduction of plain packaging for non-cigarette-tobacco products in Australia. May we please refer to our submission dated October 26, 2011, which has already been published on the website of the Australian Government.
This time, we would like to comment on the specific features for the plain packaging for noncigarette tobacco products. The amendments refer to the lining, the physical features of cigar tubes, the retail packaging, the primary and secondary packaging, the appearance of the brands on the packaging, labels and inserts, the appearance of cigars and tabs for resealing tobacco products.
We would like to summarize our comments as follows:
I. Packaging requirements
As a general remark, we would like to emphasize that the packaging requirements are quite cost-intensive. Bearing in mind that the majority of the companies we represent are small and medium-sized, family-owned businesses the expenses arising from those requirements can hardly be compensated. The new packaging requirements demand excessive and pricy measures to reorganize production chains in the tobacco factories. Thus, the proposed requirements will have an adverse effect on small and medium-sized companies that need to be prevented.
The packaging requirements set out in the documents encompass the following aspects: the lining, the retail packaging, the primary and the secondary packaging, labels and inserts, the brands/trademarks on the packaging and the tabs for resealing tobacco products. Especially the lining of the primary packaging will increase the production cost enormously. Concerning the appearance of names on other retail packaging we would like to refer to our original submission dated October 26, 2011. We have strong reservations as to whether the proposed measures comply with applicable trademark laws and international agreements relating to trademarks, such as TRIPS. TRIPS requires that the use of a trademark must not be unjustifiably encumbered by special requirements, such as the in a special form or the use in a manner detrimental to its capability to distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking
from those of other undertakings.
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II. Requirements in terms of the products
As we have pleasantly noticed in 3.2.1., there are easements in terms of product requirements for cigars. We would very much appreciate it if such easements could also be addressed to other tobacco products, such as smoking tobacco.
In conclusion and assumed that Australia introduces plain packaging for our tobacco products, a trade barrier would be created which is strongly doubted to be in compliance with the TBT-Agreement.
May we kindly ask you to keep us updated on the measures planned and on the outcome of your proposal. We are open to a further discussion on that matter at any time with you. We expressively invite you to contact us to deepen a mutual legal understanding.
We look forward to hearing from you and being involved in the decision making process.
Franz Peter Marx
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The Tobacco Plain Packaging Information Kit provides practical information on the responsibilities and obligations of retailers and other suppliers of tobacco products under the new Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011.
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