Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 2

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16 tobaccoasia FRONT PAGE NEWS 卷首新闻 InterSupply – Solutions for success. The new international trade show for the production of tobacco products: Tap into new business areas and develop new target groups. For more information: Phone +49 (0)231 / 1204 512 BECOME AN EXHIBITOR NOW! MEETING PLACE FOR GREATER SUCCESS: THE NEW INTERSUPPLY. SEPTEMBER 18 20, 2015 InterSupply_Ausst_AZ_TobAsia_E_86x124_4C_RZ.indd 1 28.01.15 19:09 collection and curb smuggling in tobacco products. Under the new system, all imported and locally-manufactured cigarette packs need to have internal revenue stamps that carry several security features. The tax stamps aim to help the BIR monitor if obligations such as excise taxes have been paid Mapa said a challenge facing the IRSIS is guarding the tax stamps and making sure these are not faked. But in theory, he said the imposition of tax stamps on tobacco products should improve collection "as it would be proof that tax duties have been paid on the commodities being sold." EU/US Trade Deal Under Fire According to Irish News, a senior figure in the Irish Medical Organization said a proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US could aid tobacco firms in their fight against plain packaging. Dr Neil Brennan, chair of the IMO International Affairs Committee, said he was concerned that the proposed Transat- lantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would set up a transnational arbitration system which would allow tobacco companies to bypass national governments. TTIP is a pro- posed trade agreement between the EU and the US that would reduce regulatory barriers to trade. Proponents argue that it would result in more trading and economic growth. Those against TTIP argue it would make it difficult for national governments to regulate markets. One of the proposed provisions would allow companies to apply for compensation if a government passes a law that it feels discriminates against foreign firms. Another would allow US companies to appeal laws to an international arbitrator if it was prevented from challenging the law in a country's local or national courts. Brennan, who previously served as IMO president, said he was concerned that TTIP may allow tobacco firms to take legal challenges on plain packaging "out of the realms of government". He said: "Instead of having to challenge the laws in an Irish court, they may be able to take the dispute to an arbitrator. It leaves the door open for companies to challenge laws on the grounds that one country is discrimi- nating against them and not another, and say Ireland should not discriminate against their right to carry out business in Europe." After Brennan voiced his concerns at the IMO's recent AGM, the body passed a motion calling on the government to ensure that the TTIP and other trade agreements negotiated at EU level "cannot weaken existing or future regulations and policies that protect public health." Australia Plain Packaging a Failure The Democracy Institute recently released a paper called "An Australian Lesson – The Plain Packaging Experiment Is a Failure" in which the think tank clearly shows that the plain packaging policy has been remarkably ineffective. The rest of this paper is therefore divided into four parts: An assessment of the available empirical evidence to determine whether the 28 month-long regulatory plain packaging experiment has achieved its principal objectives; a discussion of any unintended public health or economic consequences that may result from the plain packaging policy; an answer to the pivotal, but overlooked, question, "Why is plain packaging a failure?"; and a brief discussion of the lesson from the Australian experience that may serve to educate policymakers in other countries. The report references a number of credible research papers that show, among other things, that the level of illegal con- sumption of tobacco in Australia has reached record levels, as volumes of illicit branded tobacco products increased by 151% from 2012 to 2013. The plain packaging-induced rise of illicit tobacco has also had dramatic impacts upon Australia's small retailers. One-third of these retailers say their customers have asked if they can purchase illegal cigarettes from their store. Furthermore, 69% of small retailers said plain packaging has had a negative impact on their overall business.

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