Hollow Victory in plain paper tobacco packaging challenge that used ISDS

In 2011 Phillip Morris challenged Australia’s plain paper tobacco packaging using ISDS provisions in a Hong Kong trade treaty.

Australia has won, it seems, because they successfully argued that Phillip Morris was “treaty shopping”

However, the dismissal of the case on procedural grounds means that we will never get a ruling on the substance of Philip Morris’ claims. …..

What this means is that any country that is contemplating plain packaging – France has just joined the list of countries pursuing the policy – still has cause for concern. This is especially the case because tobacco companies don’t show any sign of giving up their legal campaign.

In this regard, poor countries are in the worst position because they can’t afford even a preliminary defence in an ISDS case….

(The Australian taxpayer avoidede further costs but also lost because the case, even though it was in the initial phase, has already cost the government $50 million.)