9 October 2018Copyright

Australia to give UK tobacco images in no-deal Brexit scenario

The Australian government will provide the UK with warning pictures on tobacco products in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario.

That comes according to a new paper from the UK’s Department of Health & Social Care, published yesterday, October 9.

Currently, the copyright for the existing picture library of images found on UK tobacco products belongs to the European Commission. Therefore, in the event of a no-deal scenario, the UK would have to introduce new warning pictures from the day the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.

Since May 2017, all tobacco sold in the UK must be in an olive green colour, with health warnings covering 65% of the front and back of every packet.

If the UK and the EU fail to reach a Brexit deal, the Australian government has agreed to provide the relevant images for UK tobacco products. The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, but WIPR has contacted the Department of Health & Social Care for comment.

However, products that feature images taken from the EU library may still be sold in the UK for 12 months after the UK’s exit from the union.

The EU’s picture library consists of three sets of 14 pictures that are rotated on an annual basis. If Australia is to provide the images in the future, then there will only be one set of pictures used.

The UK government will publish further guidance in relation to cropping and sizing the images to ensure that the Australian pictures can be easily adopted within the UK’s tobacco industry.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the EU Tobacco Products Directive and the Tobacco Advertising Directive would no longer apply in the country, although the UK law that enforces these directives would remain in place. Instead, the UK government would have the power to update its legislation.

Australia was the first country to adopt plain packaging rules for tobacco.

In June 2018 the World Trade Organization (WTO) endorsed Australia’s plain packaging restrictions.

Indonesia had previously alleged that plain packaging creates unnecessary barriers to trade and prevents trademark owners from enjoying the benefits earned by their marks. Alongside Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Honduras, the country filed challenges to the rules.

But the WTO rejected the claims and supported Australia’s argument that the rules do not violate international trade law as they are legitimate public health measures.

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