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Month: April 2020

Health advocates are using this crisis to further restrict alcohol

Global health advocates do not have their priorities straight, argues Bill Wirtz

With the recent news that has revealed the structural deficiencies of the World Health Organisation (WHO), one would believe the UN’s global health body would be interested in laying low on other issues that would make it unpopular. However, in some strange death wish, the WHO can’t help itself in getting back to what it wants to do most: regulate your consumer behaviour.

In a recent recommendation, the WHO called upon governments around the world to restrict the consumption of alcohol as it can lead to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Europe marks the particular focus of the organisation, which considers that new restrictions during the lockdown are a prerequisite for public health. But the evidence that the experts could base themselves on is flimsy at best, as our knowledge of coronavirus is overall complicated, with control groups unlikely to be large, and none of the studies being peer-reviewed.

Other than that, the WHO conflates alcohol use immediately with alcohol abuse. Yes, in countries such as the United States, alcohol sales increased by 55% over a one-week span last month, according to market research firm Nielsen. However, this number is equally likely to be related to the wave of panic-buying consumers, and the fact responsible consumers are stocking up on wine or beer for their lunches and dinners. The overwhelming majority of consumers has an adult sense of how to handle booze, and the suggestion that they are in dire need of regulation is purely paternalistic.

In “The Case for Defunding the WHO” in July 2018, I argued on this very platform that the spending of this body is wasteful and their priorities are misplaced. The WHO has a history of coddling dictators: Director-General Tedros Adhanom was quick to name Zimbabwe’s long-time dictator Robert Mugabe a “Goodwill Ambassador” of WHO. Be it Turkey, which has heavily restricted the sale and advertising of alcohol, or Iran, where the sale of alcohol is completely illegal, the UN health body seems to take its policy clues from the most religiously inspired prohibitionists on the planet.

In a 2017 document, the WHO lauds a myriad of additional alcohol labelling examples.

While the world is battling the coronavirus crisis, the European Alcohol Policy Alliance (EUROCARE) is going after sports alcohol sponsorship in Scotland. In the press release from EUROCARE, the group says:

“Millions of people – including children and young people – are exposed to alcohol sponsorship. The evidence is clear that alcohol marketing exposure is a cause of binge drinking and drinking onset among young people. It also influences their attitudes and increases their likelihood of developing problems with alcohol later in life.”

Naturally, these activists are not referring to specific evidence that points to this phenomenon. With children at a young age picking up smoking, including cannabis – both not advertised in any way – points to the conclusion that sponsorship is hardly the origin of substance abuse.

In fact, when we look at this problem we quickly figure out that it is not sponsorship in sports, or sponsorship altogether that is the problem for these groups, but alcohol in itself. Kids have always been drawn to risky products. But these groups are the new prohibitionists, unable to contain themselves until they have banned every last drop of fun.

Ultimately, what sponsorship cannot be seen by children? Be it advertisement in public transport or bus stops, or any TV channel or radio show: children can technically hear and see all advertising that adults have access to. The channels that are children-only already don’t feature these ads and online portals such as YouTube allow for parental control that blocks all age-inappropriate pop-ups.

We should also stress that it should first and foremost be the obligations of parents to protect their children from harm, by educating them about appropriate and safe alcohol use. Delegating this responsibility to government agencies will culminate in an avalanche of bureaucracy that is not in the interest of consumer choice.

Banning ads in the name of protecting children is a backdoor to blatant bans on advertising for products altogether. Other vices are also at risk, as the press release also reveals:

“This research comes at a time when the place of gambling in sport has been called into question and we need to consider the propriety of linking any addictive and health-harming product with sport.”

The reality is this: consumers want products, and they want to safely enjoy vices such as alcohol. We should aim for responsible and educated consumers, as opposed to blatant patronising bans. Substance abuse is a real problem, yet we need to recognise that there are underlying problems that explain it, going beyond mere sponsorship.

Whether or not alcohol is advertised has no impact on unemployment or any other personal hardship that leads to excesses in alcohol use. These problems need solving through different educational and social institutions, and most importantly through improved personal relationships. We as a society have a responsibility to our friends and family, more than any governmental institution may proclaim to own.

Advertising plays an important role for consumers: it informs them about new and better products and allows for competition. Advertising is the extended arm of consumer choice, and ought to be protected.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

MEP Gianna Gancia on the risks of fake drugs

Counterfeit medicines pose a real risk to consumer health. Given the current coronavirus pandemic and the numerous problems posed by restrictions on individual freedom decided by most countries, I am concerned that more and more Europeans may turn to questionable online suppliers: this is because politicians and the media are not responsible for properly reporting. citizens, causing panic.

The OECD and EUIPO have published a report highlighting the problems of counterfeit medicines for consumers in Europe and around the world. A transparent and solid pharmaceutical e-commerce regulatory framework can help fight bad actors and protect the health of Europeans, compensating for the apparent turmoil caused by misleading information.

As a member of the European Parliament, I am deeply convinced that the EU should act quickly in this sense, encouraging some Member States to lift some restrictions on certified online pharmacies and giving the possibility of obtaining a prescription that exploits technological innovation in the sector. public: the microchip incorporated in our electronic ID is a certificate of authenticity that could allow a wide range of online services for European citizens. Leaner access to legal practitioners decreases the risk of consumers accidentally purchasing with a supplier of illicit pharmaceutical products.

This is a public health issue and can offer the EU an additional tool to implement strong and decisive action against COVID-19.


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Consumer Choice Center. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors is of their opinion.


Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group that supports lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle and consumer goods, and health and science.

The CCC represents consumers in more than 100 countries around the world. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other critical regulatory points, and we inform and empower consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Find out more at consumerchoicecenter.org

What comic book super heroes and villains tell us about plant and human gene editing – and the coronavirus

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Humanity is currently facing a huge challenge imposed by the coronavirus. Borders are being shut down, planes grounded, and factories closed. At the same time, scientists and public health professionals are working on tests, treatments, and vaccines to soon provide a medical response. Coping with corona might be one of the largest tests humans have faced in the past decades but it won’t be the last virus we need to defeat. It is time to embrace bioscience and allow more research and applications of genetic alteration methods.

For the layman, all this technobabble about mutagenesis and genetic engineering is difficult to comprehend and it took me personally a good amount of reading to start grasping what different methods exist and how these can massively improve our quality of life.

Let’s first look at the four most common ways to alter the genes of a plant or animal:

  • Dr. Xavier – Mutations per se just happen regularly in nature – This is how some amino acids ended up being humans a billion years later. Biological evolution can only happen thanks to mutations. Mutations in nature happen randomly or are caused by exogenous factors such as radiation (e.g. sun). For the comic book readers among us, X-men have mutations that (in most cases) occurred randomly.
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  • The Hulk – Mutation through exposure (mutagens): One of the most common ways to manipulate seeds is exposing them to radiation and hoping for positive mutations (e.g. higher pest resistance). This method is very common since the 1950s and a very inaccurate shotgun approach aiming to make crops more resistant or palatable. It requires thousands of attempts to get a positive result. This method is widely used and legal in nearly every country. In our comic book universe, the Hulk is a good example of mutations caused by radiation.
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  • Spiderman – Genetically Modified Organisms (transgenic GMO): This often-feared procedure of creating GMOs is based on inserting the genes of one species into the genes of another. In most cases, GMO crops have been injected with a protein of another plant or bacteria that makes the crop grow faster or be more resistant towards certain diseases. Other examples can be seen in crossing salmon with tilapia fish which makes the salmon grow twice as fast. Spiderman being bitten by a spider and suddenly being able to climb skyscrapers due to his enhanced spider-human (transgenic) DNA is an example from the comicverse.
  • GATTACA/Wrath of Khan – Gene Editing (the scissors): The latest and most precise way of altering an organism’s genes is so-called Gene Editing. In contrast to traditional GMOs, genes are not being implanted from another organism but changed within the organism due to a precise method of either deactivating certain genes or adding them.
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This can be even done in grown humans that are alive, which is a blessing for everyone who suffers from genetic disorders. We are able to “repair” genes in live organisms. Gene editing is also thousands of times more accurate than just bombarding seeds with radiation. Some applied examples are deactivating the gene responsible for generating gluten in wheat: The result is gluten-free wheat. There are several methods that achieve this. One of the most popular ones these days is the so-called CRISPR Cas-9. These ‘scissors’ are usually reprogrammed bacteria that transmit the new gene information or deactivate defunct or unwanted genes. Many science fiction novels and movies show a future in which we can deactivate genetic defects and cure humans from terrible diseases. Some examples of stories in which CRISPR-like techniques have been used are movies such as GATTACA, Star Trek’s Wrath of Khan, or the Expanse series in which gene editing plays a crucial role in growing crops in space.Related article:  Viewpoint: How Germany’s anti-GMO, pro-organic politics benefit US ag companies

What does this have to do with the Coronavirus?

Synthetic biologists have started using CRISPR to synthetically create parts of the coronavirus in an attempt to launch a vaccine against this lung disease and be able to mass-produce it very quickly. In combination with computer simulations and artificial intelligence, the best design for such a vaccine is calculated on a computer and then synthetically created. This speeds up vaccine development and cuts it from years to merely months. Regulators and approval bodies have shown that in times of crisis they can also rapidly approve new testing and vaccination procedures which usually require years of back and forth with agencies such as the FDA?

CRISPR also allows the ‘search’ for specific genes, also genes of a virus. This helped researchers to build fast and simple testing procedures to test patients for corona.

In the long term, gene editing might allow us to increase the immunity of humans by altering our genes and making us more resistant to viruses and bacteria.

This won’t be the last crisis

While the coronavirus seems to really test our modern society, we also need to be aware that this won’t be the last pathogen that has the potential to kill millions. If we are unlucky, corona might mutate quickly and become harder to fight. The next dangerous virus, fungus, or bacteria is probably around the corner. Hence we need to embrace the latest inventions of biotechnology and not block genetic research and the deployment of its findings.

Right now a lot of red tape and even outright bans are standing between lifesaving innovations such as CRISPR and patients around the world. We need to rethink our hostility towards genetic engineering and embrace it. To be frank: We are in a constant struggle to fight newly occurring diseases and need to be able to deploy state of the art human answers to this.

Fred Roeder is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Follow him on Twitter @FredCyrusRoeder

A version of this article was originally published at Consumer Choice Center and has been republished here with permission. The center can be found on Twitter @ConsumerChoiceC


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Javier Fernández-Lasquetty on Liberty And Innovation In the Age Of Coronavirus

The COVID-19 health crisis has highlighted, on the one hand, the weaknesses in the way we have conceived our institutional systems over the last sixty years. On the other hand, how intervened and directed markets become particularly inefficient in times of crisis. 

Thus, of the many responses that we see every day, it is those that emerge spontaneously and freely that offer faster and more effective responses. Spontaneous order is once again the best response to the complex and petreus structure of the state.

The management of the provision of health material and medicines is currently one of the weakest points in our health systems, not because of its lack of effectiveness, but because of the slowness of response. This slowness is due precisely to the excess of control by the public authorities which, in many countries, has led to an intolerable slowness in the purchase of such basic products as means of protection for health workers. 

If the provision of means of protection is important, it is particularly relevant, due to the urgency, how to manage quickly and safely the new research and subsequent patenting of drugs and/or vaccines to stop the pandemic. 

In my view, attention needs to be paid to both aspects. The urgency of the search for a vaccine can lead to the emergence of black market suppliers due to the validation protocols and the various tests that any drug has to pass on the ordinary market, tests that can be ignored on the black market, or applied with less care. The problem with this is that, if adequate attention is not paid to the second aspect – managing research and patents quickly and safely – not only could serious damage be caused to people’s health, but also patents could be stolen to manufacture the drug in parallel markets outside medical controls, with obvious consequences. 

We believe that safety in the creation of drugs and vaccines must be particularly sought after by institutions, without distinguishing between public and private ones. This circumstance implies not only guaranteeing that they comply with the appropriate controls but also protecting the property in the creation of the same since, otherwise, research would be discouraged, particularly in the private sphere. Proceeding in this way would undoubtedly lead to difficulties in finding solutions to these medical problems by leaving out of the production circuit an important agent who, as has been demonstrated in the management of this health crisis, provides important and necessary assistance to the public sector.

It is not unreasonable to remember that times of crisis are times of opportunity, even in circumstances as serious as the present. It is in them that opportunities are found in the weaknesses of the system so that, with ingenuity and creativity, it can be improved and new opportunities for growth sought. 

It is necessary at this point to appeal to disruptive innovation. The best lesson that this terrible health crisis already leaves us is that only through spontaneous and voluntary cooperation, free creation and the absence of bureaucratic obstacles in the search for solutions we become efficient.

Javier Fernández-Lasquetty
Regional Minister of Finance. Madrid Region (Spain)
Former Regional Minister of Health. Madrid Region (Spain)

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Consumer Choice Center. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors is of their opinion.

Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group that supports lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle and consumer goods, and health and science.

The CCC represents consumers in more than 100 countries around the world. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other critical regulatory points, and we inform and empower consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Find out more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Non, l’Afrique n’est pas épargnée!

OPINION. Le virus ailé que représente l’invasion actuelle de criquets menace de réduire à néant toutes les récoltes de la Corne de l’Afrique. Il faut réagir de toute urgence, en se souvenant que chimie et technologie font aussi partie du génie humain, rappelle notre chroniqueur

L’hémisphère Sud, et en particulier l’Afrique, semble en grande partie épargné par la pandémie de Covid-19 qui préoccupe toute l’Asie et l’Occident. Mais pendant que nous focalisons notre attention sur cette maladie, nous détournons notre regard d’un désastre sans doute pire encore, qui ravage le continent africain.

A l’heure actuelle, des dizaines de milliers d’hectares de cultures et de plantations sont ruinés par la plus grande invasion de criquets de ces vingt-cinq dernières années. En raison d’un climat automnal favorable, ces insectes ont proliféré et leur nombre pourrait encore croître d’ici à juin.

Neuf Etats africains s’essaient aujourd’hui à maîtriser la propagation de ce virus ailé qui se répand à une vitesse effarante. Maïs, millet, sorgho, herbes et feuilles: tout y passe!

Des nuages de criquets, parfois de la taille de petits pays comme le Luxembourg, se déplacent sur des kilomètres ravageant tout sur leur passage et ne laissant derrière eux qu’une terre stérile. Ces régions pauvres, qui souffrent régulièrement de la famine, se retrouvent ainsi face à une future crise alimentaire de grande ampleur.

Depuis le début de cette invasion, les gouvernements de ces pays ont intensifié les mesures de contrôle qui comprennent notamment une utilisation rapide de pesticides dans toutes les zones touchées, pulvérisés à l’aide de pompes manuelles et motorisées. Ces Etats sont aujourd’hui appuyés par les Nations unies, qui demandent une aide urgente pour organiser rapidement une pulvérisation aérienne de grande ampleur avant la saison des plantations.

L’objectif est principalement d’empêcher l’éclosion des œufs des criquets par l’utilisation de fénitrothion et de malathion, des insecticides organophosphorés couramment utilisés pour lutter contre les moustiques et les insectes frugivores. En effet, si une intervention n’est pas faite rapidement, la plaie des criquets pourrait s’amplifier et réduire à néant les terres agricoles restantes de la Corne de l’Afrique.

Pandémie et prolifération des criquets: face à ces catastrophes d’ampleur biblique, l’Humanité se retrouve confrontée à ses éternels ennemis naturels qui lui rappellent sa fragilité. La nature nous rappelle aujourd’hui qu’elle n’est pas que Gaïa la nourricière mais également Nemesis la colérique.

Par ces épreuves, nous prenons conscience que la technologie et la science ne sont pas des oppressions qui nous éloignent d’un état naturel fantasmé mais au contraire le résultat de notre vie et notre confrontation à notre milieu.

Energie nucléaire, produits chimiques, médicaments de synthèse, vaccins: toutes ces solutions qui sont décriées par des minorités qui font beaucoup de bruit sont pourtant les fruits de l’ingéniosité humaine et la source de sa prospérité.

Après le passage de ces heures sombres, nous devrions ressortir plus reconnaissants de ce qui nous permet d’échapper à une vie «courte, brutale et indigente», comme le disait Thomas Hobbes. Retrouvons foi en notre ingéniosité et notre capacité à créer plutôt que porter sans cesse le poids d’une culpabilité infondée de notre présence sur cette Terre.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Après le coronavirus, faisons des améliorations à notre cadre législatif

Après des semaines de changements à notre façon de consommer, nous voyons qu’il y a des améliorations importantes à faire, en ce qui concerne nos chaînes d’approvisionnement et les moyens disponibles pour se procurer des produits et services. Profitons de cette phase de lucidité pour faire des changements appropriés.

Plusieurs semaines de confinement nous montrent que tout ne s’est pas
déplacé sur internet et qu’une présence physique est difficilement remplaçable avec une connexion internet. Tout de même, nous voyons aussi qu’il y a raison de se réjouir du fait que cette pandémie nous tombe dessus en 2020 et pas il y a vingt ans. Nous avons la possibilité de rechercher et commander des produits et services, presque sans
aucune nécessité de se déplacer.

Les outils de travail à distance tels que Zoom, Asana ou les outils de Google ont déjà révolutionné le monde du travail. La plupart des réunions peuvent
être converties en appel vidéo. Dans des pays comme le Royaume-Uni, les consommateurs peuvent dire que grâce à des services de livraison de produits alimentaires tels que Amazon Fresh etOcado, nous pouvons constituer une bonne quantité de réserves de conserves, de produits secs et de produits pour la salle de bains, sans même avoir à nous battre pour les
derniers produits dans certains supermarchés presque vides.

Au Luxembourg, où ces services n’existent pas, la question se pose si notre cadre réglementaire n’est pas à l’origine de ce défaut. L’absence de services comme Uber, ou les trottinettes électriques comme Bird, nous indique qu’une législation fautive est à l’origine de cette défaillance. Tant que des villes comme Bruxelles ou Paris bénéficie de l’économie de partage, les restaurateurs et la clientèle luxembour- geoises doivent se contenter de sites web incomplets de restau- rants, et l’HORESCA qui organise un service de livraison à 10 euros par commande (pour ceux qui n’ont pas de service intégré de livraison).

Il s’avère que les applications décentralisées sont mieux préparées pour faire face à des crises et la demande des clients. Un grand changement dans l’approvisionnement de produits et services est celui des médicaments et des services médicaux. Pendant la pandémie, nous voyons l’arrivée des télé-consultations, dont on espère qu’elles ne resteront pas une innovation temporaire. Afin de récupérer leurs ordonnances, les patients ont dû se déplacer en pharmacies — une obligation superflue.

Huit pays dans l’Union européenne donnent le droit à leurs citoyens de commander des médicaments sur ordonnance en ligne : le Royaume-Uni, l’Allemagne, la Suisse, les Pays-Bas, le Danemark, la Suède, la Finlande et l’Estonie. Au Luxembourg, le gouvernement nous informe que “Seuls les médicaments sans ordonnance peuvent être vendus sur internet. Il n’est pas prévu d’autoriser la vente à distance de médicaments sur ordonnance.” Espérons que la crise actuelle donnera la motivation nécessaire aux parlementaires de s’intéresser à une légalisation de ces services.

Au niveau de l’Agence européenne des médicaments (EMA), nous aurions besoin d’un audit pour comprendre pourquoi un fast-tracking des procé-
dures d’approbation n’a pas encore été possible. Dans une situation d’urgence comme celle du coronavirus, il nous faut des recherches efficaces, et une bureau- cratie qui autorise au plus vite les médicaments nécessaires. L’Agence luxembourgeoise des médicaments et des produits de santé (ALMPS) devra fonctionner d’après les mêmes principes : mettre la priorité pour maximiser le nombre de nouveaux médicaments sûrs, en réduisant les obstacles administratifs. En même temps, le Luxembourg doit aussi autoriser et encourager le “droit à l’essai” médical. La loi sur le droit d’essayer ou loi Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn et Matthew Bellina, a été promulguée le 30 mai 2018 aux États-Unis. Cette loi est un autre moyen pour les patients chez qui on a diagnostiqué des maladies mortelles, qui ont essayé toutes les options de traitement approuvées et qui ne peuvent pas participer à un essai clinique, d’accéder à certains traitements non approuvés. Les essais cliniques permettent de savoir si un produit est sûr à l’emploi et peut traiter ou prévenir efficacement une maladie. Les personnes peuvent avoir de nom-
breuses raisons de participer à des essais cliniques.

En plus de contribuer aux connaissances médicales, certaines personnes participent à des essais cliniques parce qu’il n’existe aucun traitement pour leur maladie, que les traitements qu’elles ont essayés n’ont pas fonctionné ou qu’elles ne sont pas en mesure de tolérer les traitements actuels.

Au-delà, il faut aussi plus de cybersécurité chez les Luxembourgeois et les entreprises contre les cyberattaques qui se propagent lors de cette pandémie. La sécurité du réseau doit être garantie pour garder l’at-
tractivité de la place financière – pour ce faire, une exclusion de certains acteurs du marché de télécommunication, dont la Chine, ne doit pas être exclue. Et qui dit vie privé, doit aussi garantir une révision de la
Constitution qui met en évidence les idées reçues de cette crise, afin de prévenir encore plus les abus de pouvoir dans des urgences futures.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Україна не може дозволити собі заборони на експорт пшениці

У середу, заступник міністра економіки Тарас Висоцький повідомив Reuters, що Україна готова ввести заборону на експорт пшениці, якщо його обсяг перевищить узгоджений з трейдерами рівень. Цьому кроку передувало звернення Всеукраїнської асоціації пекарів та асоціації «Борошномели України» до президента Володимира Зеленського, прем’єра Дениса Шмигаля, міністра економрозвитку Ігоря Петрашка та секретаря Ради нацбезпеки і оборони (РНБО) Олексія Данілова з проханням вплинути на ситуацію з підвищенням цін на продовольчу пшеницю.

Заборони на експорт – це природна реакція на надзвичайну ситуацію, спричинену пандемією. Метою є запобігання дефіциту пшениці та зростання цін на зерно всередині країни. Тому, з цієї сторони, такий крок може здаватись виправданим та навіть своєчасним.

Однак проблема у тому що у перспективі такі рішення можуть призвезти до втрат у вигляді погіршення відносин з країнами-торговими партнерами та втратою багатьох експортних можливостей у майбутньому. Так як Україна є одним із найбільших світових експортерів зерна, нам важливо підтримувати цей статус та намагатись збирати рекордний врожай.

Зростання експорту в 2018-ому році забезпечили в основному кукурудза, пшениця, ріпак, м’ясо і субпродукти птиці, олії, тютюн і вироби з нього, яйця і кондитерські вироби. Найбільшими імпортерами української сільгосппродукції в 2018 році були Індія, куди було експортовано аграрної продукції на суму понад 1,8 млрд дол., Китай – 1,2 млрд. дол., Нідерланди – 1,2 млрд. дол., Іспанія – 1 млрд. дол. і Єгипет – 0,9 млрд. Дол.

Міжнародна торгівля важлива тим, що вона дозволяє кожній стороні використовувати свою перевагу і отримувати вигоду з переваги іншої. Таким чином, rраїни, в які ми постачаємо зерно є залежними від наших імпортів так само як наші експортери залежні від від продажу на світовий ринок. В результаті, обидві сторони виграють. Саме тому для нас так важливі ці торгові відносини, і обривати їх шляхом заборони експортів є не найкращим рішенням.

Експорт зерна є важливою частиною економіки України, і заборона або обмеження їх зашкодить вітчизняним експортерам. Цілком ймовірно, що тоді вони – цілком виправдано – вимагатимуть від держави певну грошову підтримку для збереження свого виробництва. Україна, як країна, яка водночас веде війну з Росією, і коронавіруcом і яка по голову в кредитах, не може собі цього дозволити.

Але це не лише Україна. Кілька країн заявили про готовність повернутись всередину. Нещодавно Румунія ввела заборону на вивезення зерна та переробленого зерна (включаючи хлібобулочні вироби) за межі Європейського Союзу, і румунські фермери вже висловили свою стурбованість. Зокрема, вони побоюються, що заборона не буде скасована після закінчення пандемії, і вони не зможуть продати урожай пшениці, ячменю, ріпаку. “Це було б катастрофою, оскільки фермери не мають потужностей для зберігання,” – стверджує Строеску.

Економічний націоналізм є привабливим, але він так само є неймовірно небезпечним в довгостроковій перспективі і підштовхне нашу економіку ще більше вниз.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Five measures that could prevent future lockdowns

That the World Health Organisation hasn’t exactly shone in the coronavirus crisis is now well-documented. It should remind us of the dangers of following one centrally-guided approach to tackling the disease. Thankfully, given how even experts have been unsure about how to respond to this enormous challenge, there was no unified EU response to Covid-19. Instead, European countries have been dealing with the virus using trial and error.

As a result, looking at the responses of European and Asian countries, we can now distinguish five important things that seem to have worked to prevent the need for a strict, economically devastating lockdown.

Read more here


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Overreaching Lockdowns Are Flattening Our Livelihoods

Millions of Americans are in the penalty box as we speak.

They have followed the advice of state and local officials and they have stayed home to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses are on hold, birthdays are canceled, travel is limited, and we are glued to our screens to see how this all ends. While some of us have been able to carry on work, essential or not, during this trying time, that’s just not possible for most.

More than 16 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since lockdown orders went into effect in mid-March, and economists say we could face as high as 20 percent unemployment by summer.

It is certainly true that many states and cities have saved lives by ordering us to stay home. But blanket lockdowns are now flattening our livelihoods in a way that’s more dangerous than this pandemic.

Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg says that by closing all schools and jobs, we are “actually creating more damage, more long-term death, more long-term unemployment and unpleasantness for the whole population compared to what you’re achieving in saving lives.”

He’s right. It’s why Austria and Denmark have already begun to relax their lockdowns and open up their economies, but with social distancing rules still in effect. European leaders see the real damage that has been done to societies, and it is time to turn the tide while remaining responsible.

That is exactly what the American people can do as well.

We can still be responsible by socially distancing where necessary, wearing facemasks, quarantining at-risk groups, and using technology to track the spread of the virus. That is what countries going back to work have done since the start.

That will be more effective than forcing businesses to shutter, driving many of our compatriots to foodbanks or the brink of homelessness.

We have to look no further than our own hospitals.

It is true that many health facilities in major cities are overwhelmed, and we should be sending them every resource where possible.

But by canceling elective surgeries and operations that feed their budgets, rural and county hospitals have ironically begun laying off hundreds of thousands of health professionals and administrative staff. This is not because they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients but rather because they do not have any patients at all.

If we are losing health professionals during a pandemic, then we are doing something wrong.

A one-size-fits-all-approach is usually misguided in our federal system, and it’s wrong now. There are 27 states that have had less than 100 fatalities, yet are still imposing crushing lockdowns. It is no wonder so many are itching to get back to work.

It is time to admit lockdowns are not a universal answer to the crisis we face.

Many criticize President Trump for his desire to open up the American economy. But his anxiety is a signal to workers and entrepreneurs everywhere: the pain and suffering of the novel coronavirus are real, but losing your income and prospects for feeding your family is just as bad or sometimes even worse.

Americans are a robust, strong and resilient people. We understand that things may never be the same, but we should be trusted to continue our lives while following the guidance of our scientists and doctors. That is the balance we need to protect our livelihoods and save those most vulnerable.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

The value of packaging design goes beyond pretty pictures

The value of packaging design goes beyond pretty pictures says Fred Roeder

When people talk about the importance of design, people will often point to iconic logos and branding that we now take for granted, whether it’s the Coca Cola motif, Mr Pringles crisps or Jack Daniels bottles.

But the importance of design isn’t just in the design itself, but in the intellectual property behind the design and its intrinsic value to brand holders and consumers. Design cues provide information and knowledge around the products consumers buy and help to build confidence. Removing design elements simply limits an individual’s ability to make informed decisions about what they are buying.

Late last year, the outgoing UK Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, called on the government to threaten the food industry with ‘cigarette style’ plain packaging for sweets and chocolates if they failed to meet sugar reduction targets. Dame Sally called the for the sugar tax programme – already in place for soft drinks – to be extended to cereals, yogurts and cakes if targets are not met by 2021, and applied to calorie-rich foods by 2024.

Creative solutions

Dame Sally’s parting shot at the food, drink and retailing industry comes hot on the heels of the UK’s Food Ethics Council which also called for an outright ban on cartoon mascots on junk food, including fizzy drinks, crisps, cereals and biscuits, in a bid to curb obesity and diseases like diabetes

No one is denying that a there’s a sensible debate to be had around responsible consumption, but unproven laws are not the solution. Rather than scaring people into changing their behaviour or punishing their pockets through ‘sin taxes’ and brand censorship, legislators need to be more creative when it comes to promoting good health.

While it’s not yet government policy in the UK, it soon could be and it will be interesting to see if Chris Whitty, Dame Sally’s replacement, picks up the cudgel and continues to beat food and drink manufacturers, retailers and consumers into submission.

Lawmakers often take their lead from public health bodies like the Food Ethics Council and supranational organisations 13like the World Health Organisation, who just love to wield the ban hammer in the name of protecting public health.

It’s happening already with Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which became law in October 2018, regulating advertising and promotion, insisting on mandatory cancer warnings, and banning alcohol branding from sports stadiums.

Restricting marketing and communications in certain product categories and, in some cases, banning their availability altogether, will only serve to stifle innovation and violate consumer rights.

You only have to go back 100 years to the US bringing in the Volstead Act, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, to know that banning something simply drives demand underground, fuelling criminality.

Freedom of choice

Unbranded goods provide a boon for organised crime gangs as the labels, packaging and containers are much easier to fake. Spurred on by the promise of enormous profits, the trade in unregulated illegal products represents a tempting proposition for counterfeiters, with huge costs to governments and the public alike. Therefore, the total damage to businesses affected is likely to be higher. Brand censorship will almost certainly lead to losses in the creative industries, including design and advertising services, which are heavily reliant on FMCG contracts.

Brand Finance estimates that the potential value loss to businesses worldwide would be $430.8bn if tobacco-style plain packaging were extended to the beverage industry. This refers to the loss of value derived specifically from brands and does not account for further potential losses resulting from changes in price and volume of the products sold, or illegal trade.

Compounding the issue is a complete lack of analysis-based dialogue between brand owners, consumers and regulators. IP laws and frameworks are positive examples of these groups working together to protect and enforce the interests of rights holders, whilst at the same time allowing consumers the freedom to make their own choices. Despite these efforts, the infringement of IP rights remains a significant problem. According to a 2019 OECD – EUIPO report, the total volume of trade in fakes was estimated at $509bn, or 3.3 per cent of global trade (up from 2.5 per cent in 2013).

The way forward

No brand has a God-given right to exist or survive. But the threat of restrictive business regulation and illegal trade will only serve to hasten their demise by undermining intellectual property rights and weakening their inherent value.

The Food Ethics Council and Public Health England are right to call for a debate on how we can make the country healthier, but the negative impact of limiting brands could wreak havoc in the packaging and creative industries, causing a major headache for big retailers, with no conclusive evidence that the policy will achieve the desired health objectives.

That is why closer collaboration and co-operation between policymakers and industry participants, and education over legislation, provides the best way forward. Instead of health warnings and brand censorship, we should use incentives and encouragement to change consumer behaviour.

Fred Roeder is the Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, an independent non-profit organisation, which promotes ‘consumer choice’ among different products, innovations and price classes. The Consumer Choice Center supports lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science and consumer choice. The CCC believes regulators on local, national and supranational levels keep regulating more and more areas of consumers’ lives. This leads to less consumer choice and makes products more expensive.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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