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Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes From the Philippines

Key Facts
Short Title: Thailand – Cigarettes
Respondent: Thailand
Third Parties: United States; China; Chinese Taipei; European Communities; India; Australia;
Complaintant(s): Phillippines;
Dispute Number: DS371
Link to Dispute Site: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds371_e.htm
Dispute Subject(s): Cigarettes;
Dispute Status: Concluded

On 7 February 2008, the Philippines requested consultations with Thailand concerning a number of Thai fiscal and customs measures affecting cigarettes from the Philippines.  Such measures include Thailand's customs valuation practices, excise tax, health tax, TV tax, VAT regime, retail licensing requirements and import guarantees imposed upon cigarette importers.  The Philippines claims that Thailand administers these measures in a partial and unreasonable manner and thereby violates Article X:3(a) of the GATT 1994.

In addition, the Philippines makes separate claims in respect of various customs valuation measures affecting imports of cigarettes. The Philippines claims that as a result of these measures, Thailand acts inconsistently with various provisions of the Customs Valuation Agreement and the interpretative notes to these provisions, as well as paragraphs 1 and 2 of the General Introductory Commentary; and various provisions of Articles II and VII of the GATT 1994. According to the Philippines, Thailand does not use transaction value as the primary basis for customs valuation as required and fails to conform to the sequence of valuation methods mandated by the Customs Valuation Agreement, rather it uses a valuation method with no basis in the Agreement.

The Philippines also claims that Thailand's ad valorem excise tax, health tax and TV tax, on both imported and domestic cigarettes, are inconsistent with Article III:2, first and second sentence and Article X:1 of the GATT 1994 which requires the publication of trade laws and regulations of general application.

The Philippines also claims that Thailand's VAT regime is inconsistent with Articles III:2, first and second sentence, III:4 and X:1 of the GATT 1994.

In addition, the Philippines claims that Thailand's dual license requirement that requires that tobacco and/or cigarette retailers hold separate licenses to sell domestic and imported cigarettes is inconsistent with Article III:4 of the GATT 1994, because it provides less favorable treatment for imported products than for like domestic products.

On 20 February 2008, the European Communities requested to join the consultations.

On 29 September 2008, the Philippines requested the establishment of a panel.  At its meeting on 21 October 2008, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.  At its meeting on 17 November 2008, the DSB established a panel and Australia, the European Communities, Chinese Taipei and the United States reserved their third-party rights.  Subsequently, China and India reserved their third-party rights.

Panel Proceedings
Brief DateBrief Description
04/18/2011Third Participant Oral Statement of the United States
07/01/2009U.S. Answers to the Questions of the Panel following the Meeting with the Third Parties
06/11/2009Third Party Oral Statement of the United States