February 25, 2011 - On 22 February 2011, Thailand notified the Dispute Settlement Body of its decision to appeal the panel report in DS371. The following notification, dated 22 February 2011, from the Delegation of Thailand, is being circulated to Members.
“Thailand [on February 22] submitted a partial appeal of the Panel Report findings before the Appellate Body of the WTO,” said Ambassador Manuel Teehankee, who is the Philippines’ permanent representative to the WTO. Teehankee said Bangkok has the right to thwart the adoption of the panel report as it filed an appeal ahead of the scheduled WTO Dispute Settlement Body meeting today in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Philippines in 2008 lodged a complaint alleging that Thailand violated WTO rules when Bangkok designated higher customs values for Manila’s cigarette exports and jacked up the maximum retail prices on imported cigarettes to protect the Thai state-owned tobacco monopoly. (Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..)
Previous news briefs on this subject:In a report issued on November 15 last year, the panel that looked into the dispute recommended that “the Dispute Settlement Body request Thailand to bring . . . inconsistent measures . . . into conformity with its obligations under the GATT 1994 and the WTO Agreement.”
November 17, 2010 - WTO panel order Thailand to set up uniform taxes on both foreign and locally made cigarettes..;
March 18, 2010 - WTO delays verdict on cigarette confrontation between Thailand and the Philippines..;
January 19, 2010 - Thailand - PMI likely breached the Foreign Business Act..;
November 9, 2009 - WTO - "DS 371" Philippines versus Thailand on cigarette customs valuation..;
September 3, 2009 - Thailand unit of Philip Morris International faces charges that it violated custom tax rules..;
November 11, 2008 - Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules.. .
Despite Thailand’s appeal, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo expressed confidence “that the WTO Appellate Body will uphold the position of the Philippines and require Thailand to comply with its WTO obligations with respect to Philippine exports.
“The Philippines, being a major tobacco producer and a growing exporter of manufactured cigarettes to Thailand, will strongly defend the findings of the panel report,” he said.
References: Thailand appeals WTO ruling favoring RP tobacco by BEN ARNOLD O. DE VERA REPORTER, Manila Times, 2/23/2011; Bangkok appeals WTO tobacco ruling in favor of PHL, With Paterno Esmaquel II/VS, GMA News, 2/23/2011.