PH has legal options at WTO and ASEAN over cigarette tax case vs Thailand (Manila Bulletin, 24 January 2016)

PH has legal options at WTO and ASEAN over cigarette tax case vs Thailand (Manila Bulletin, 24 January 2016)

The Philippines has legal options within the WTO and ASEAN to force Thailand to implement the multilateral trading body’s decision for a fair tax treatment on its cigarette exports. Anthony Abad, former legal counsel of the cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris Philippines on the WTO cigarette case, told reporters that the Philippines can tap the WTO Implementation Agreement. According to Abad, this legal option should be the logical option for the government after giving Thailand more than enough time to comply with the WTO ruling. Another venue is the ASEAN Dispute Settlement Mechanism. But the most diplomatic way is to talk to Thailand bilaterally to avoid the tax dispute from further escalating, Abad said. Abad further said that the Philippine government can file for both options at the same time to resolve the cigarette issue. But if Thailand still refuses to change the tax valuation on Philippine cigarettes, the government can opt for the WTO option. By going the WTO option, Abad said WTO as a multilateral trading body will be further strengthened. It will further cement its authority in the implementation of trading rules in the multilateral arena.