Philip Morris’ claim for Free-Trade on the rocks; International Arbitration Tribune rejected tobacco giant’s court case against Australia’s plain packaging
Dec 28, 2015 08:03 PM EST
Cigarette maker, Philip Morris, would not easily attain winning as their claim to free trade was rejected by the International Arbitration Tribune.
It all started when Philip Morris, which has a subsidiary company, incorporated in Hong Kong, kicked off the first ever ISDS case against Australia under the 1993 investment treaty of Hong Kong and Australia. According to a report by The Australia, Philip Morris asserted that Australia's new plain packaging rules for tobacco companies violates and contradicts the treaty made by both countries, which led to the tribunal being constituted on May 15, 2002, within the UN's Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Even Bryan Clark, the director of trade and international affairs at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated that a unanimous verdict, released 10 months after the panel of three arbitrators met in Singapore, "does seem to prove our point that the ability to bring a case doesn't of itself make it a successful case".
Meanwhole, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who is a strong opponent of ISDS provisions, commented that hundreds of academic experts have contended that the projected safeguards for health and environmental policy anticipated in recent trade agreements are deficient and lacking.
Senator Ludlam further explained and warned that the ISDS provisions in the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership jeopardize the capacity of legislations to safeguard nature, labour standards and health, and the environment and its people.
Looking back, it was reported that Philip Morris filed the complaint months ago and The West Australian previously reported that more than $50 million of taxpayer money is expected to go up in smoke shielding cigarette plain packaging in a secretive international tribunal in Singapore.
Certainly, as the international tribune rejected the case against the Australian government from the Philip Morris tobacco company, trade experts as answering fears about Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses as well as the assertions of free-trade agreements, as further reported by Herald Sun.
Indeed, it does not bode well for the cigarette maker despite its claims as the verdict was recently issued denied them the opportunity to exert their claims and for that alone. Moreover, as the verdict was passed, the people of Australia and its societies can be reassured that their government are safeguarding their best interest as well as ensuring public health and safe environment.