WTO agrees to set up panel to rule on U.S. clove cigarette ban

15:43, July 21, 2010      

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An Indonesian senior official said that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has agreed to establish a panel to rule on Indonesia's complaint that a U.S. ban on clove cigarettes aimed at preventing teenagers in that country from starting to smoke was discriminatory, local media reported in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Trade Ministry Director General of International Trade Gusmardi Bustami said the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) agreed during their second court session on July 20 to establish a panel to rule on the issue.

"It agreed to establish a panel of experts despite ongoing U.S. objections," he was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying.

He said the panel of three judges would be assisted by third parties consisting of representatives from Guatemala, Brazil, the EU, Turkey and Norway.

The U.S. raised its objections on the establishment of a panel in the first DSB court session in June.

"In the second court session, the U.S. did not have the right to raise objections, something it was aware of," Gusmardi said, adding that during the second meeting, the U.S. delegation continued to object to the establishment of the panel.

After the panel had been formed, he said, the Indonesian government would decide whether it would accept the established panel.

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