Indonesia takes US ban on clove cigarettes to WTO

GENEVA  — Indonesia on Tuesday asked the World Trade Organization to investigate whether U.S. tobacco control laws are illegally preventing imports of clove-flavored cigarettes to the United States.

Jakarta said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ban on manufacturing, importing, marketing and distributing candy-, fruit- and clove-flavored tobacco breaks trade rules because it exempts menthol cigarettes, most of which are made in the U.S.

Washington blocked Indonesia's request for the establishment of a WTO dispute panel, but can only do so once under the trade body's rules.

U.S. officials argued that the ban is legal because it doesn't specifically target Indonesian clove cigarettes and asked the Southeast Asian country to reconsider its request.

Indonesia claimed over 6 million people depend directly or indirectly on the production of clove cigarettes, which are a staple of the country's smoking culture.

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