Høringssvar fra CEOE-SPANISH CONFEDERATION OF EMPLOYERS AND INDUSTRIES
PUBLIC CONSULTATION PROCESS PLAIN PACKAGING NORWAY
The Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE) is the Spanish’s business organization voluntarily representing the interests of the Spanish businesses of every size, sector, and region through base associations networked within 240 sectorial and territorial organisations. Since its founding in 1977, CEOE has worked to deliver the voice of business in Spain, and around the world to advance policies that create jobs and grow and strengthen the competitiveness of our economy. CEOE acts as the economic and social partner to the Government, the Public Administrations, the trade unions, the political parties and third institutions at National, European and International levels.
The CEOE rejects the plain packaging for the following reasons:
- The plain packaging unreasonably restricts the freedom of movements of goods, and violates the principles of free enterprise and trade, free speech, and free competition. The plain packaging notably distorts competition, eliminating one of the elements, freely available to manufacturers and traders of tobacco goods, to differentiate their product, such as the legitimate trademark. Furthermore, it results in high barriers to market entry, disincentives innovation and hinders the entry of new products to the market. Therefore, there will be an increased difficulty for new brands to access the market, since they will not be able to distinguish their products from those currently marketed, or to make themselves known in any other way than through low prices, with all consequences derived from it (the lower the price, the higher the possibility of consumption, the higher accessibility by the underage because of inherent budget restrictions, and the lower tax collection by the State).
- It implies an expropriation of trademark rights of manufacturers and importers of tobacco products, and comes into conflict with international treaties with regards to intellectual property and international trading. CEOE supports the “TRADEMARK ELIMINATION VIA PLAIN PACKAGINGT DECLARATION” of the American Chamber of Commerce, how was signed by American Chamber of Commerce in Norway, Federation of Norwegian Food and Drink Industry, Grocery Manufacturers of Norway, Norwegian Advertisers’ Association (ANFO), Norwegian Anti Counterfeit Group (NACG), Norwegian Association for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (NASME), Oslo Retail Association, and Virke, Convenience and Grocery Trade (Norway). On the other hand, Australia has been subject to four appeals before the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization.
- It would cause very negative consequences for consumers, increasing illicit trade. It is being proved that consumers rather have packages with a traditional appearance, only offered by smuggling networks which trade with goods of dubious origins that have not undergone any kind of quality control, and avoid taxation. For the purpose of ending such an issue, the CEOE considers that it is necessary to facilitate the interlocution with key stakeholders, affected by any draft legislation in progress, understanding that article 5.3 of the FCTC does not hinder the collaboration between the affected industry and the regulator. For illustrative purposes, it is evident to highlight that, in order to fight against the illicit tobacco trade, it is much more efficient to do so in collaboration with the most affected industry.
- It would establish an extremely serious precedent for other regulated sectors, thus explaining the interest of the CEOE on this matter.