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Wednesday, 8 July 2015, 12:30 HKT/SGT
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Source: Indonesian Ministry of Trade
Director General Nus: Indonesian Government Anticipates Singapore Plan on Cigarette Plain Packaging Policy

JAKARTA, July 8, 2015 - (ACN Newswire) - The Indonesian Director General of National Export Development, Nus Nuzulia Ishak, moved quickly to anticipate Singapore's plan to implement a plain packaging policy for cigarettes. A similar policy has been implemented by the Australian government and is currently a subject of dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"Indonesia is the second largest exporter of cigarettes to Singapore. Should this plain packaging policy be implemented by the Singaporean Government, it is predicted to lead to a decline in our exports to Singapore," asserted Nus in Jakarta (25/6).

Indonesian exports of tobacco products to Singapore in 2014 reached USD 139.99 million, a 9.66% drop compared to the previous period, which reached USD 154.96 million. The largest exporter of cigarettes (HS 4 digit 2402) to Singapore is still China with a 20.39% share. Should this new policy go into effect, exports of cigarettes and tobacco products are projected to slide even further.

On 12 March 2015, the Singaporean Government through Singapore's Ministry of Health expressed their plan for a policy to standardize cigarette packaging and other tobacco products at a public hearing with the Health Committee in the parliament.

On that occasion, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, the Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Health, conveyed the tobacco control measures. One of which is the Announcement: Public Consultation on Standardized Packaging, which asserts that Singapore is about to implement the plain packaging policy.

Nus explained that Singapore plans to hold a public consultation at the end of 2015 that is open to relevant stakeholders. This is done by the Singapore Government to obtain views and feedback from various parties.

"This is an opportunity for us, the Government as well as cigarette and producers of tobacco products in Indonesia, to express our views and provide feedback along with a strong argument before the policy goes into effect in Singapore," said Nus.

The plain packaging policy mandates cigarettes be sold in uniform packaging with a certain color and show health warnings on the cigarette packaging. Besides that, the name of the product must also be written using a predetermined font without the company logo or any trademarks.

In its dispute with Australia at the WTO, the Government argues that the omission of branding or trademarks has nothing to do with health. That's why the implementation of plain packaging for cigarettes is irrelevant. Besides Singapore, this policy that has been implemented by Australia looks to be followed by other countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Topic: General Announcement
Sectors: Daily Finance, Daily News
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