‘Plain packaging‘ faces strong backlash
By Kim Tae-gyu
A couple of Korean organizations have opposed recent measures by the New Zealand government, which launched reviews on the idea of banning the use of trademarks and logos from tobacco packaging.
The Korea Trademark Association (KOTA) announced Thursday that the so-called ``plain packaging’’ might end up generating a trade dispute with Korea.
``If the New Zealand government implements the plain packaging policy, it will deprive tobacco products produced in Korea of an opportunity to enter and compete in the New Zealand market,’’ according to KOTA.
``And it is in violation of the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement signed by members of the World Trade Organization since it sets an unnecessary barrier to trade.’’
Australia is the only nation set to embrace the plain packaging policy later this year but other countries are mulling over following suit.
Korea’s leading tobacco manufacturer KT&G exports its items Down Under although the amount is not that big.
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK) echoed KOTA’s stance.
``Extreme caution is recommended when trying to curtail property rights, for example when attempting to force companies to remove almost all branding elements and impose plain packaging for their products as recently announced by the New Zealand government,’’ it said in a statement.
``Along with other international intellectual property organizations, the EUCCK IP center would like to call for careful consideration of such intended measures that could potentially violate trademark rights of companies, but also create a form of trade barrier against foreign and domestic businesses trying to enter a new market.’’