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COP6 plans for tax guidelines censured

| October 14, 2014

Writing in the Town Hall, the columnist, Daniel J. Mitchell, asks today why the World Health Organization isn’t focusing solely on things such as Ebola and SARS, rather than engaging in ideological campaigns to expand the size and scope of government.

Mitchell says that under the ‘leadership’ of the UN’s WHO, hundreds of bureaucrats have descended on Moscow for the sixth Conference of the Parties (COP6) to WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

‘But this isn’t the usual junket,’ he explains. ‘The bureaucrats are pushing to create “guidelines” for tobacco taxation. Most notably, they want excise taxes to be at least 70 per cent of the cost of a pack of cigarettes.

‘I’m not a smoker and never have been, but this is offensive for several reasons.’

Mitchell then goes on to mention that the policy would enable bigger government, promote criminal activity and erode national sovereignty.

His piece is at: http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2014/10/14/world-health-organization-ignores-ebola–focuses-on-taxing-tobacco-instead-n1904720/page/full

New graphic warning library established

| October 14, 2014

The European Commission has issued a draft delegated directive establishing a new library of 42 graphic warnings to be used as part of the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive agreed earlier this year.

Combined graphic and textual warnings are to be grouped into three sets with each set being used for a year and being rotated on an annual basis.

However, EU member states may exempt smoking tobacco products other than cigarettes, roll your own tobacco and waterpipe tobacco from the obligation to carry the combined health warnings.

The Commission is due to define the technical specifications for the layout, design and shape of the combined health warnings taking into account different pack shapes.

The delegated directive has not yet entered into force and could be the subject of objections from the European Parliament and/or the Council of Ministers.

But it is due to enter into force on the 20th day following its publication in the official journal of the EU.

Member states will have until May 20, 2016, to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive.

Third China Cigar Festival imminent

| October 14, 2014

Cigar Ambassador is to hold its 2014 China Cigar Festival at Shanghai on October 27-31.

This, the third such festival, will start on October 27 with a welcome party.

It will include sessions on China’s cigar market, cigar trade and the management of cigar shops and clubs.

It will see the opening of the first exhibition of the Cigar Ambassador Collection, and it will feature a salon for women cigar aficionados, a workshop on cigar rolling and various tasting sessions.

And it will end with a session entitled ‘China Big Smoke’.

Hesse joins Global Laboratory Services

| October 13, 2014

Kimberly Hesse has joined Global Laboratory Services as business development manager. She brings with her a solid marketing and advertising background plus six years of experience in the tobacco laboratory industry. Global Laboratory Services offers analytical testing in crop protection agents, e-cigarettes, and smoke (HPHCs).

 

OLAF-led operation seizes counterfeit goods and 130 million illicit cigarettes

| October 13, 2014

More than 1.2 million counterfeit goods and 130 million cigarettes have seized during a two-week international joint customs operation co-ordinated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

According to a European Commission press note, the operation, code-named REPLICA, targeted the import of counterfeit goods by sea.

‘Under the co-ordination of OLAF, customs authorities carried out targeted physical or X-ray controls on several hundred selected containers,’ the press note said.

‘These checks uncovered a wide array of counterfeit goods including cigarettes, perfumes, car and bicycle spare parts, toys, fashion accessories and electric devices.

‘The seizures of cigarettes alone prevented the loss of €25 million in customs duties and taxes. In fact, the amount of cigarettes seized is equivalent to what 17 000 people, [each] smoking a packet a day, would consume in a year.

‘In terms of overall seizures in this operation, the value of the equivalent genuine products is estimated to be over €65 million.’

Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner responsible for customs and anti-fraud said operation REPLICA had shown what could be achieved when customs authorities, international partners and industry worked together to fight fakes.

“Counterfeit goods defraud consumers, harm legitimate businesses and cause huge losses to public revenues,” he said. “Counterfeit cigarettes also undermine public health policies. When fakes flood our markets, the only ones to benefit are fraudsters and criminals. I warmly congratulate all those that participated in Operation REPLICA for the excellent results.”

The Commission press note said that operation REPLICA had been organised within the ‘Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) framework’ as part of joint efforts in the fight against counterfeit goods.

‘During the operational phase of REPLICA, OLAF facilitated the co-operation between all the EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland, 11 international partners, Interpol, Europol and the World Customs Organisation,’ the note said. ‘The operation was co-ordinated by OLAF with the support of a team of eleven liaison officers from the EU Member States and China, all working together in Brussels. It was the first time that a Chinese Customs Liaison Officer worked from the operational headquarters at OLAF.

‘A Virtual Operational Co-ordination Unit (VOCU) – a brand new secure communication channel for such joint customs operations – was used to channel the flow of incoming information.

‘A number of legitimate rights-holders also provided a valuable contribution in the targeting of the goods covered by the operation and this led to several successful seizures. The close co-operation with the rights holders will be further explored by OLAF especially for products posing a danger to the health and safety of citizens or potentially harmful for the environment.

‘Most international EU ports were also involved during the two-week period, providing support for checking the containers.

‘The exchange of information in real time allowed all the experts involved to identify the suspect flows of counterfeit goods out of ordinary commercial transactions.’

France aims for plain packs by 2016

| October 13, 2014

France is due to introduce standardized packaging for cigarettes in 2016, according to an Agence France Presse report citing an announcement by Health Minister Marisol Touraine on Wednesday.

In the wake of the introduction of standardized tobacco packs in Australia, Touraine initially announced a raft of measures last month to tackle smoking.

One of the main planks of the strategy was standardized packaging, which “should be in tobacconists at the beginning of the year 2016″, the minister told French radio.

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