The idea has received another kick along, this time from Iman Pambagyo, one of the head honchos at Indonesia’s ministry of trade. “We can do that,” he said of wine plain packaging. “Moral considerations apply to this commodity …”
The Indonesian government is, of course, Muslim, but it has also intimated that this is "retaliation" for Australia bringing in plain packaging for tobacco. Indeed, the policy will only apply to booze from Australia and any other country that is daft enough to follow the Aussies in their vanity project.
Scotch whisky could be dragged into a tit-for-tat trade war because of plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes in Scotland and the rest of the UK, MPs fear.
The Indonesian government has proposed forcing Australian wine to be sold in plain packaging in retaliation for Australia introducing plain packs for cigarettes in December 2012.
Indonesia is expected to impose the same restrictions on New Zealand when that country introduces plain packs for tobacco products shortly. The south-east Asian nation has called on other major tobacco-producing countries to follow its lead. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers and has a high rate of domestic cigarette consumption.
This is exactly the kind of tit-for-tat war that trade agreements are designed to prevent. Public health campaigners fear and despise free trade. They are keen to get exemptions from trade agreements for their pet projects and they have shrugged off the numerous complaints made to the World Trade Organisation about plain packaging. Some of them may even be licking their lips at the idea of plain packaging for alcohol. But the predicted consequences of their plain packaging ruse - the slippery slopes and the trade disputes - are drawing ever nearer.