Saudi Arabia notified the World Trade Organization of its plans to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products. The proposal, which was filed on September 12, 2018 and reviewed by the authorities concerned at the WTO, was accompanied by a draft regulation titled “Plain Packaging Standards of Tobacco Products.”

While Saudi Arabia did not disclose when it would introduce the new rules, we expect it to become the first country in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Middle East at large, to do so. Additionally, the WTO, as one of the proponents of plain packaging as a measure to discourage people from taking up tobacco use, is expected to be strongly in favor of the adoption of plain packaging in Saudi Arabia.

By way of background, a plain tobacco package is one that displays brand names and product names in a standard color and font style, without using logos, colors, brand images, or promotional information on the packaging.

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