PH raises concerns at WTO over cigarette tax dispute with Thailand

The Philippines has raised its concerns before the World Trade Organization (WTO) about Thailand’s non-compliance to the cigarette tax ruling even as it reiterated its call for the ASEAN colleague to heed the multilateral trading body’s decision.

A WTO website post cited the recent Philippine Statement submitted to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on its ongoing cigarette tax dispute with Thailand.

“The Philippines reiterated its concerns about outstanding compliance issues in this dispute and called on Thailand to fully comply with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings. Thailand said that it had taken all actions necessary to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute,” the WTO said on a website post dated January 25, 2016.

The Philippines has pressed Thailand to comply with the WTO ruling to correct the unfair tax treatment on Philippine cigarette exports. Instead, just recently Thai authorities sued Philip Morris Thailand Ltd. for alleged undervaluation of cigarette imports from the Philippines to avoid tax payments of over $500 million.

On 11 August 2011, Thailand informed the DSB that it intends to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in a manner that respects its WTO obligations and that it would need a reasonable period of time to do so.

On 23 September 2011, Thailand and the Philippines informed the DSB that they had mutually agreed on the reasonable period of time for Thailand to comply with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB.  With respect to the DSB’s recommendation and rulings regarding paragraphs 8.3(b) and (c) of the panel report, the reasonable period of time to comply shall be 15 months, expiring on 15 October 2012.  With respect to the DSB’s recommendation and rulings regarding all other measures, the reasonable period of time to comply shall be 10 months, expiring on 15 May 2012.

On 1 June 2012, the Philippines and Thailand informed the DSB of Agreed Procedures under Articles 21 and 22 of the DSU.

At the DSB meeting on 28 January 2013, Thailand reported that it had completed the final outstanding steps in its implementation process.  However, the Philippines did not agree that Thailand had fully implemented the DSB’s recommendations and rulings.  At the DSB meeting of 27 February 2013, the Philippines expressed concern that it had not been informed of any progress toward resolving the remaining WTO-inconsistencies and added that it would take appropriate steps shortly.

At the DSB meeting on 18 June 2014, Thailand reported that it did not have to take any further action to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings. The Philippines disagreed and was of the view that Thailand had failed to comply.
Read more: http://www.mb.com.ph/ph-raises-concerns-at-wto-over-cigarette-tax-dispute-with-thailand/#WtgERtrcdirUKHh8.99