The World Trade Organization on Wednesday threw out Washington's appeal against Jakarta's claim that US rules banning the sale of Indonesian clove cigarettes infringed international trade rules.

Washington had banned the production and sale of clove cigarettes under a health act that also blocks the sales of other cigarettes with flavours such as grape, coffee or strawberry, in a bid to prevent the young from getting hooked on smoking.

The move prompted Indonesia to lodge a case against the US at the WTO, with Jakarta arguing that the act had not been applied uniformly as it did not cover menthol cigarettes, a claim that the WTO upheld in its ruling.

Washington appealed against the finding but the appeal panel said Wednesday that it agreed with the original ruling and called on the United States to "bring its measure ... into conformity with its (WTO) obligations."

[Image via captain of a small boat on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed.]