Tracking defended

| January 11, 2018

The EU Commission has said that it has made a priority of minimising the burden of its tobacco-products tracking-and-tracing system on small and medium-sized enterprises, and ‘traditional producers’.

The Commission last week provided written answers to two questions posed by the UK member of the European Parliament, Bill Etheridge.

In a preamble to his questions, Etheridge said that with all large tobacco manufacturing plants having been closed in the UK, leaving thousands of citizens jobless, the tobacco manufacturing sector had been left to a handful of micro or small family-owned companies that were rooted in their original localities.

‘These companies rely on their ability to export the traditional tobacco products (e.g. pipe tobacco, nasal snuff, chewing tobacco) they produce and distribute,’ he said.

‘Is the Commission aware that its decision to extend the scope of “track and trace” to tobacco products destined for export:

  1. ‘Potentially oversteps the mandate that the European Parliament has given to the Commission under the European Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU)
  2. ‘Establishes a self-imposed trade barrier which disproportionally impacts the smaller and traditional tobacco manufacturers, ultimately driving them out of business?’

The Commission began its reply by saying that tobacco was responsible for 700,000 premature deaths in the Union every year. This made it the ‘most significant’ cause of premature death in the Union.

‘Illicit tobacco products are less likely to be in compliance with tobacco control legislation and provide artificially cheap supplies of tobacco that affect the uptake and prevalence of smoking, in particular for young people,’ the Commission said. ‘The traceability measures provided for in Article 15 of the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) constitute a key means for combatting fraud and strengthening tobacco control in the Union.

‘The scope of the traceability measures and in particular the obligation to apply unique identifiers to all tobacco product packets manufactured in the Union is set by Article 15 of Directive 2014/40/EU. In so doing it reflects the obligations of the state parties under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, which Article 15 of the Tobacco Products Directive is intended to implement in the EU. Article 8 of the Protocol requires its Parties to establish a tracking and tracing system for all tobacco products that are manufactured in or imported into’ their territory.

‘Minimising the burden of the system on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and traditional producers has been a priority for the Commission from the outset and a detailed assessment of the measures’ proportionality and expected impact in this respect was carried out. In addition, a number of lighter measures intended to reduce the burden on SMEs have been foreseen throughout the Commission’s proposals.’


Category: Breaking News, Illicit trade, Packaging, Tax

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