High-powered US business organisations have issued a joint
statement expressing "deep concern" with the New Zealand
government's decision to introduce plain packaging for
They say it will violate New Zealand's international trade
obligations and facilitate illicit trade and counterfeiting.
"Of course we respect the right of New Zealand to regulate in
the public interest, but this approach is contrary to
regulatory best practices," the organisations said.
"Above all, there is no compelling evidence that it will
actually advance the public interest."
The organisations include the US Chamber of Commerce, the
National Association of Manufacturers, the Emergency
Committee for American Trade, the United States Council for
International Business, the National Foreign Trade council,
the Transatlantic Business Council and the US-ASEAN Business
They say they made a submission to the government last year
and want to reiterate those views.
"Although presently this effort is only confined to tobacco
products, we see this as a systemic threat to rules which
intellectual property and the trading system are dependent
"We hope the New Zealand government will consider the
concerns we have raised for the possible impact on New
Zealand exports, such as dairy and wine, should other
governments feel emboldened to take similar measures."
The government announced on Tuesday it would introduce
legislation this year to enforce plain packaging.
It is taking a cautious approach, and before the measure is
implemented it will watch developments in Australia.
Plain packaging was introduced in Australia in December and
the big tobacco companies lost a lawsuit challenging it.
However, the Australian government could face an appeal and
the companies have lodged a complaint with the World Trade