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PMI’s proxy trade dispute with Thailand
  1. Ross MacKenzie1,
  2. Kelley Lee2
  1. 1 Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ross MacKenzie, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; ross.mackenzie{at}

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In July 2019, a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel found that Thailand had failed to implement previous WTO recommendations and rulings relating to its treatment of cigarettes imported from the Philippines. The panel ruled that Thailand had not complied with the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement which covers imported goods between WTO members. According to the Philippines, Thailand has continued to place higher valuations on cigarettes imported by Philip Morris Thailand (PMT) from Philip Morris’ Philippines subsidiary than permitted by the WTO method of ‘transaction value’, the price actually paid or payable for goods when sold for export.1

The dispute began in 2008 when the Philippines submitted its initial complaint in response to Thai claims that PMT under-reported the value of imported cigarettes between 2003 and 2006 in order to pay less tax than Thailand argued was applicable.2 The Philippines countered that Thailand’s valuation process was discriminatory, and protectionist of the state-run Thailand Tobacco Monopoly3 (restructured and renamed the Tobacco Authority of Thailand (TOAT) in 2018).4 Three subsequent WTO panel decisions and related appellate rulings have gone against Thailand,5 6 but the …

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  • Twitter @RJM10, @profplum8

  • Contributors RM conceived the article and both authors participated equally in writing and editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.