- About bilaterals.org
- Feb-2016: New ISDS platform launched
- Sep-2004: Launch announcement
- Feb-2015: Relaunch of bilaterals.org
- Mar-2013: Relaunch of bilaterals.org
- Jun-2009: Relaunch of bilaterals.org
- Dec-2008: An update from bilaterals.org and logo design contest announcement
- Dec-2006: bilaterals.org in Spanish & French
- Sep-2006: Update from bilaterals.org
- How to participate
- Key issues
- Texts of agreements
Plain packaging for cigarettes a legal minefield
New Zealand Herald, Auckland
Plain packaging for cigarettes a legal minefield
19 February 2013
Lawsuits are seen as the inevitable next step if plain packaging of cigarettes is brought in.
The government will announce a decision on the matter in the next few days.
University of Auckland professor of law, Jane Kelsey, said if plain packaging was introduced, the Government would ignite a fight with large international companies with plenty of money.
"British American Tobacco has made it clear that they will sue the government under existing bilateral investment treaties, for significant damages."
Kelsey said the Australian government was facing the same conundrum and was fighting back against the companies.
"The Australian government is facing this, and they have said, ’Bring it on’.
"The New Zealand government, John Key in particular, has been a bit more reticent about his willingness to front up to these challenges, and so it will be very interesting to see how he responds."
Kelsey said the process would be so drawn out, it probably won’t be settled until after the next election.
Managing partner at intellectual property firm AJ Park, Alan Potter, said cigarette companies own their brand, just like any other company.
"It would be wrong for someone else to take away that right to use, without proper compensation, where they are obeying all the other rules that go with using a trademark."
Potter said it was dangerous territory for the Government to enter into.
He said cigarette companies’ brands were registered trademarks, and thus their property.
"Should the government be able to take that right?
"That’s been a property right in New Zealand for hundreds of years. Should the government now be able to say, ’I’m going to take that away, you can no longer have that’?"
Potter believed it was a slippery slope once the Government started legislating against companies’ rights.
Upcoming days of action
Oct to Nov: autumn of action against CETA in Europe incl. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Netherland, Slovenia, Spain... - details
21 Oct: mobilisation against CETA in Montreal - details
27-28 Oct: mobilisation in Brussels against CETA - contact
03-05 Nov: mobilisation in Brussels against TTIP - contact
4 Nov: Continental day for democracy and against FTAs & neoliberalism in Latin America - contact
Any edits, please contact us
News from the movements
20-Oct-2016 El DiarioHoy es un día clave en la defensa de la democracia tal y como la hemos entendido hasta ahora.
20-Oct-2016 Bangkok PostAccess to affordable medicine and farmers’ control over seeds could be undermined by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership being negotiated between Asean member countries and six other trade partners, says FTA Watch in Thailand
20-Oct-2016 CEOA close look at the controversial EU-Canada trade deal shows that concerns blocking its ratification are well-founded.
19-Oct-2016 Telesur“We don’t want what happened to us to happen to the people in Dakota,” Piaguaje told teleSUR.
18-Oct-2016 Peoples WorldIn protests billed as “anti-colonial” demonstrations, Peruvians hit the streets on 12 October against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement
17-Oct-2016 No al TTIPEn el marco de una semana repleta de protestas para detener la aprobación del tratado de libre comercio entre la Unión Europea y Estados Unidos (TTIP) y la ratificación del CETA (el acuerdo de la Unión Europea con Canadá), la plataforma estatal ‘No al TTIP’ ha movilizado este sábado a miles de personas a lo largo de la geografía española y muy especialmente en la capital de España.
17-Oct-2016 Stop TTIPOver 100 law professors from across Europe have come together to send a clear message to EU decision makers demanding the investor protection mechanisms be excluded from TTIP and CETA.
17-Oct-2016 The Jakarta PostAn activist group is calling on the government to not ratify the ASEAN Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) clause on International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) 1991, saying that it will increase global corporations’ monopolistic control over small farmers.
bilaterals.org is a collaborative space to share information and support movements struggling against bilateral trade and investment deals which serve corporations, not people. Multilingual. Global. No one owns it. Open publishing. Get involved.