The tribunal assigned to hear Philip Morris Asia’s (PMA) challenge to Australia’s plain packaging law today decided to divide the proceedings in the case into two phases – one to decide certain questions related to jurisdiction and a second to hear the arguments at the core of the case. Commenting on the decision, Philip Morris International’s Vice President, Communications Julie Soderlund said: “Australia’s plain packaging law entails the destruction of brands. It is evident that brands are core to consumers' understanding of the intrinsic characteristics of a product and of their ability to differentiate. Brands drive the creativity and innovation that propel economies. Building a brand is a long-term, significant investment that international law protects from arbitrary government action of exactly the sort at the heart of our claim. “Today, the Tribunal decided it would be efficient to hear some of Australia’s objections to the Tribunal’s jurisdiction before moving to the core issues in the case. We respect the Tribunal's view on which is the most efficient way to proceed. We are eager to move past preliminary questions to a hearing during which we will show that Australia breached its promises to protect investments -- promises that it has made in over twenty treaties and through its long history of enforcing strong trademark laws and fair regulatory processes.” More information about this challenge and Investor State Dispute Settlements is available here. Philip Morris International Inc. Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is the leading international tobacco company, with seven of the world's top 15 international brands, including Marlboro, the number one cigarette brand worldwide. PMI's products are sold in more than 180 markets. In 2013, the company held an estimated 15.7% share of the total international cigarette market outside of the U.S., or 28.2% excluding the People's Republic of China and the U.S. For more information, see www.pmi.com.