Is EU policy off track?

| July 10, 2017

The chair of the International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA), Juan Yañez, has questioned the appropriateness of some aspects of plans to tackle the illegal trade in tobacco in the EU.

In an opinion piece in Euractiv, Yañez said that while EU policymakers were looking to use track and trace technologies in the fight against the illegal trade in tobacco products, concerns needed to be raised about the type of technology that was being planned.

Fighting the illegal tobacco trade had to be a key element in protecting the EU and its citizens, he said.

‘However, the timing and content of an EC [European Commission] scientific report into anti-counterfeiting technologies raises concerns over how this can be achieved, and goes to the heart of the debate over the type of track and trace technologies to be applied as part of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD),’ he said.

‘Specifically, at a time when the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) is considering the track and trace options to meet the needs of the TPD, this separate EC report appears to create confusion, appearing to favour the Codentify serialised coding system invented by a major tobacco manufacturer as a technology that could be used for more widespread brand protection applications.

‘The report, published by the EC’s own science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), is aimed at helping enforcers and brand owners in the fight against product and brand counterfeiting.

‘Although the JRC’s paper is not an official policy position of the EC, the report does make some suggestions on the development of a single standard to support the authentication, tracking and tracing of goods. Among the report’s conclusions is that Codentify could be one of the starting points for the development of any such standard.

‘Besides questions that could be raised as to whether the JRC information base was balanced and well-founded, this raises another issue: is it acceptable for one part of the EC to endorse a specific anti-counterfeiting technology while another department is actively involved in an independent process to determine the specifications of track and trace technology to be incorporated into the TPD?’

Yañez’s piece is at: http://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/opinion/tobacco-track-and-trace-tech-a-warning/.

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Category: Breaking News, Illicit trade, Markets, Regulation, Tax, Technology

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