Restrictions on the Importation of and Internal
Taxes on Cigarettes
on 7 November 1990. Adopted, pre-WTO, GATT panel reports
can be downloaded here.
the 1966 Tobacco Act, Thailand prohibited the importation
of cigarettes and other tobacco preparations, but
authorized the sale of domestic cigarettes; moreover,
cigarettes were subject to an excise tax, a business tax
and a municipal tax.
US complained that the import restrictions were
inconsistent with GATT Article XI:1, and considered that
they were justified neither by Article XI:2(c), nor by
Article XX(b). It also argued that the internal taxes
were inconsistent with GATT Article III:2.
argued, inter alia, that the import restrictions
were justified under Article XX(b) because the government
had adopted measures that could only be effective if
cigarette imports were prohibited and because chemicals
and other additives contained in US cigarettes might make
them more harmful than Thai cigarettes.
Panel found that the import restrictions were
inconsistent with Article XI:1 and not justified under
Article X1:2(c). It further concluded that the import
restrictions were not necessary within the
meaning of Article XX(b). The internal taxes were found
to be consistent with Article III:2.
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