Month: July 2020

Harga murah, rokok seludup jadi pilihan

rokok seludup

KUALA LUMPUR 30 Julai – Disebabkan harga yang lebih murah dan mudah diperoleh, pasaran bagi rokok seludup di Malaysia terus laris dalam kalangan perokok di negara ini.

Pengarah Urusan Consumer Choice Center (CCC), Fred Roeder berkata, bilangan rokok haram yang diseludup masuk ke Malaysia adalah luar biasa.

“Pemerhatian kami menunjukkan permintaan bagi rokok seludup adalah tinggi kerana produk haram ini dijual pada harga semurah RM5.00 berbanding produk sah yang dibayar cukai.

“Jika trend ini berterusan, pasaran rokok Malaysia akan sama sekali ditakluki oleh produk haram dan murah hanya beberapa tahun lagi,” jelasnya dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.

Malaysia mempunyai kira-kira lima juta perokok dan sebilangan besarnya adalah mereka yang menghisap rokok seludup.

FRED ROEDER
Fred Roeder

Pasaran rokok haram mencacah 60% berdasarkan jangkaan daripada hasil rampasan yang dijalankan agensi-agensi penguatkuasaan.

Baru-baru ini juga, Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia (JKDM) berjaya mematahkan cubaan menyeludup 456.03 juta batang rokok dari bulan Januari hingga Jun 2020.

Jumlah tersebut menunjukkan peningkatan mendadak berbanding 236.2 juta batang rokok yang dirampas pada tempoh sama tahun lalu.

“Perokok juga mungkin beranggapan produk yang murah dan tidak dibayar cukai adalah bagus untuk poket mereka berikutan kelembapan ekonomi akibat COVID-19,” katanya.

Pengguna juga berdepan dengan beberapa impak negatif seperti produk tiada pematuhan.

Kajian pada 2015 oleh Jabatan Bioteknologi, Universiti Malaya mendapati rokok haram mempunyai kandungan tiga kali ganda tar dan nikotin. 

Produk ini kerap dicemari oleh bahan yang tidak diketahui semasa proses penyeludupan yang mendedahkan pengguna kepada risiko kesihatan yang lebih besar.

rokok seludup

Selain itu, peralihan kepada pasaran rokok seludup juga menjadi pemangkin kepada lonjakan pasaran gelap yang membolehkan pasukan penjenayah meluaskan pilihan produk pasaran gelapnya ke dalam negara.

Ekonomi gelap Malaysia dianggarkan bernilai RM300 bilion termasuk aktiviti pengedaran dadah, produk paslu dan manusia.

Dalam pada itu, aktiviti haram tersebut juga memberi kesan kepada dana awam yang memaksa kerajaan menanggung kerugian tahunan sebanyak RM5 bilion dalam aspek hasil cukai.

Jelas Roeder, pengguna perlu sedar hak dan kuasa mereka setelah mengetahui produk haram tidak memberi manfaat kepada mereka.

“Pengguna Malaysia haruslah menuntut supaya semua pihak berkepentingan seperti penggubal dasar, agensi penguatkuasaan, pengeluar dan peruncit mengambil tindakan tegas dalam membanteras masalah ini secara mutlak.

“Kerajaan juga harus mempertimbangkan untuk melakukan perubahan cukai sebagai langkah mengurangkan permintaan kepada rokok haram di samping mengurangkan beban pihak penguatkuasaan,” katanya lagi.

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

CCC:打击⾛私活动·应调整烟草税收价格

该组织今⽇发⽂告表⽰,由于⾛私烟草的价格远⽐合法烟草产品来得低,加上⾮常容易就可 获取,导致了消费者转向购买⾛私烟草,从⽽助长我国的烟草⿊市发展。

⽂告中指出,⾛私烟草在我国占据了超过60%的市场份额,显⽰我国500万个烟民中有⼤部分 都购买⾛私⾹烟,⽽且执法机构所进⾏的捣破⾏动屡创新纪录,也显⽰了我国⾛私烟的增长 趋势。 ⽂告中说,我国海关⽇前宣布,在今年1⾄6⽉期间已成功起获了4亿5603万⽀⾛私烟,⽐起去 年同期的2亿3620万⽀⾛私烟明显增加。

需求变⾼刺激烟草⿊市


CCC 执⾏总监罗德指出,被偷运进⼊我国的⾛私烟数量⾮常惊⼈,⽽相关产品仅以5令吉的廉 价出售,造成了市场对于⾛私烟的需求变⾼。

“若这样的增长趋势持续下去,相信我国的烟草市场将在短短⼏年内,完全被这些廉价的⾮法 产品所取代。”

他补充,“烟民可能认为购买便宜⾛私⾹烟并⽆⼤碍,但这类⾛私烟贸易的蓬勃发展将造成各 种的负⾯影响。”他指出,⾛私烟贸易将会成为刺激⿊市的催化剂,因为所涉及的规模和⾼⾦额程度,会令犯 罪集团把⿊市产品业务扩展⾄我国。
他表⽰,烟草⿊市也导致了国库损失,令我国政府每年蒙受50亿令吉的未收税务损失,⽽这 笔税务在如今的疫情下,可⽤作振兴经济的⽤途。

“我国的影⼦经济市值达3000亿令吉,其中包括毒品、假冒产品和⼈⼜贩卖,这些都导致了消 费者被剥夺了货真价实、⾼质量和合规的商品,⽽商家则遭受这类⾮法贸易严重打击。”

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

Scrapping COVID Patents: PM Johnson needs to resist populist calls

London, UK –  In a report published today by the House of Commons International Trade Committee, Members of Parliament suggested that the UK enact compulsory licensing for COVID-19 treatments. Under compulsory licensing laws, the government has the power to revoke patent rights from innovators and companies if a discovery they made provides treatment or protection related to a national health emergency. Fred Roeder, Health Economist and Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center warns that eroding intellectual property will end up harming patients, and will hurt the UK’s chances of accessing a cure or vaccine:

“Compulsory licensing is threatening to move the goalposts on how intellectual property rights are protected. If domestic and foreign companies are prevented from retaining their patent licenses, this could hinder the production and supply of essential goods to the UK further than they already are. A compulsory licensing bill could place even more barriers for pharmaceutical innovators, which could discourage these kinds of companies from investing or listing their drugs in the UK.

There are other solutions to ensure easy access to vaccines and drugs. For example, mutual recognition of FDA and EMA approvals and fast-tracking some types of medicines would do a lot of good. In order to be prepared for the next pandemic, we need to increase, not curb, incentives for innovation. Right now we need to do everything that makes pharmaceutical research more agile – Introducing compulsory licensing on COVID drugs and vaccines is not the right way. Any help it provides in the short term will jeopardize our ability to tackle this health crisis in the long run,” concludes Roeder.

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

Antitrust tech hearings dig for consumer harm but come up short

Armed with face masks and fresh customer complaints, members of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law convened both virtually and in-person on Thursday, for the first of many hearings on competition in the tech sector.

It was a six-hour marathon of gobbledygook legal turns of phrase and static-prone troubleshooting for lawmakers.

The witnesses were CEOs from some of the four largest companies in America: Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Tim Cook of Apple, and Sundar Pichai of Google.

Together, these companies serve billions of global consumers for a variety of needs, and have become very rich by doing so. They employ millions of people, make up big portions of the American economy, and have been the trailblazers for innovation in virtually every free nation.

It is also true that they’ve made many mistakes, errors in judgment, and have made it easy to be bashed by all sides.

Despite that, these companies are true American success stories. And that’s not even considering the industrious biographies of their CEOs on the witness stand: an immigrant from India; the son of a teenage mother and immigrant stepfather; a college dropout; and a gay southern man shunned by the Ivy League. Each of them is a self-made millionaire or billionaire in their own right.

But in the context of this hearing, they were America’s villains.

The potshots in the hearing came from both Democrat and Republican congressmen, each using their bully pulpits to reel out various accusations and grievances on the representatives from Big Tech. But lost in all of this was the consumer.

The scene was analogous to George Orwell’s Two Minute Hate on repeat, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein replaced by a WebEx video call on full screen with smiling CEOs surrounded by the furniture in their home offices.

For Democrats, these companies have grown far too large using unscrupulous business practices, beating competitors with lower prices, better service, speed, and slick branding – allowing them to purchase or bully their competition.

For Republicans, it’s all about the bias against conservatives online, facilitated by the thorny content moderation that selectively edits which social media posts are allowed to stand.

What’s missing from this story so far? American consumers.

The justification of the hearing was to determine whether these companies have abused the trust of the public and whether consumers have been harmed as a result of their actions.

But more often than not, questions from committee members hinged on the and “business acumen” of decisions taken within the company, classifying rudimentary strategy decisions as illegal and hostile moves.

Platforms Opening to Third-Party Sellers

An example is Rep. Pramila Jayapal, of Washington State. She represents the district where Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos. She condemned Amazon for collecting data on third-party sellers who are able to use Amazon’s website to sell products.

“You have access to data that your competitors do not have. So you might allow third-party sellers onto your platform, but if you’re continuously monitoring the data to make sure that they’re never going to get big enough to compete with you, that is the concern that the committee actually has,” said Jayapal.

Here, we’re talking about Amazon’s online platform, which sells millions of goods. Two decades ago, Amazon opened up its platform to merchants for a small fee. It was a win for sellers, who could now have easier access to customers, and it was a win for customers who now can buy more products on Amazon, regardless of who the seller was.

When Amazon sees that certain product categories are very popular, they will sometimes make their own, knowing they have the infrastructure to deliver products at high satisfaction. This brand is called Amazon Basics, encompassing everything from audio cables to coolers and batteries.

Rep. Jayapal says that by collecting data on those merchants in their store, Amazon is effectively stealing information…that sellers voluntarily give in exchange for using Amazon’s storefront.

However, the end result of the competition between Amazon’s third-party sellers and Amazon’s own products (on Amazon’s platform) is something that is better for the consumer: there is more competition, more choice, and more high-quality options to choose from. This elevates the experience for a consumer and helps save them money. This is far from harm.

The same can be said of Apple and its App Store, which came under fire from the chairman of the committee, Rep. David Cicilline. He said Apple was charging developers who use the App Store “exorbitant rents” that veered toward “highway robbery”.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was quick to retort by pointing out that the App Store is a platform for its own apps, but it also allows third-party developers to use that store for a fee. This is an entirely new market space that never existed before Apple opened it, and thus is a net gain for any developer who uses the store, and benefits consumers who click and download even more.

Business As Usual

Throughout the hearing, public officials pointed to internal documents as proof of the malfeasance of the tech firms. The documents were unearthed by the committee and contained emails and memos on mergers, acquisitions, and business practices from all four tech firms.

The Financial Times classified these documents as evidence that the companies “chased dominance and sought to protect it.”

Rep. Jared Nadler of New York chased down Mark Zuckerberg for his decision to purchase the photo-app Instagram back in 2012, calling the move “outright illegal” because he believed Facebook bought it to “essentially put them out of business.”

Today, Instagram is an incredibly popular app that has grown to half a billion users, thanks to Facebook’s investments, talent, and integration. It’s made consumers very happy, and has become an attractive product for advertisers as well. Again, no harm for the consumer.

Pro-Consumer, not Pro or Anti-business

One of the most astute lines from the hearing came from the sole representative from North Dakota.

“Usually in our quest to regulate big companies, we end up hurting small companies more,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong. Indeed.

And add to that the eventual scenario whereby only the highly connected and vastly wealthy tech companies will be able to comply with stringent regulation from Washington. That’s not what consumers want, and it’s not what Americans want either.

If Congress aims to use antitrust power to break up or heavily regulate the enterprises built by Google, Amazon, Facebook, or Apple, it won’t be done lightly. It would likely leave a lot of damage in its wake for small and medium-sized businesses, many of whom rely on these major firms to conduct their business. In turn, consumers rely on those companies for products and services.

Each of these companies represent a case study in innovation, entrepreneurship, and giving the people what they want to create a huge network of consumers. There’s a lot to learn there.

Instead of using the law to break up companies, what if we learned from their success to empower more consumers?

Coronavirus Will Blow Up Our Legal System, but a Liability Shield Will Help

As customers slowly trickle back into stores and workers punch back in at reopened businesses, there’s one thought on all our minds: caution.

Protective plastic shields and screens, face masks and gloves are a new reality, and it is a small price to pay for coming out of state-mandated lockdowns.

But months into the all-encompassing coronavirus pandemic, there is another cost many entrepreneurs and administrators fear: future legal bills.

While voluntary precautions will be plentiful in every situation where a customer, student or worker is getting back out in the world, the nature of the virus means it is almost certain that someone, somewhere, will catch the virus. That means huge potential legal ramifications if a person wants to hold an institution or business liable.

There is already a demonstrable lawsuit epidemic. Between March and May of this year, more than 2,400 COVID-related lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts. These cases are likely to blow up our legal system as we know it, elevating accusations of blame and clogging every level of our courts that will keep judges and lawyers busy for some time.

That is why the idea of a liability shield for schools, businesses and organizations has taken up steam.

In a recent letter to congressional leaders, 21 governors, all Republicans, called on both houses of Congress to include liability protections in the next round of coronavirus relief.

“To accelerate reopening our economies as quickly and as safely as possible, we must allow citizens to get back to their livelihoods and make a living for their families without the threat of frivolous lawsuits,” the governors wrote.

While a liability shield will not give cover to institutions that are negligent or reckless, and reasonably so, it would ensure that blatantly frivolous or unfounded lawsuits are not allowed to go forward.

For the average entrepreneur or school administrator, that would help alleviate some of the worries that are keeping many of these instructions closed or severely restricted.

No one wants customers or workers catching the virus in these environments, but creating 100 percent COVID-free zones would be next to impossible, a fact many scientists are ready to acknowledge. That’s why state governors, lawmakers and business leaders want to ensure that our states can open back up, but be cognizant of the risk.

There is still plenty of uncertainty related to the transmission of the virus, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out, and that is why a liability shield — at least for those who follow health and safety recommendations — makes sense. Businesses and schools that willfully endanger citizens through negligence though, should rightfully be held liable.

This is the idea currently being debated in the nation’s capital, as Senate Republicans have stated they want a liability shield to avoid a lawsuit contagion.

Unfortunately, the idea is likely to be mired in a toxic partisan death spiral. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York decries such a plan as “legal immunity for big corporations” and reporting on the topic has resembled such.

But these protections would most benefit small businesses and schools that follow health recommendations and still find themselves the subject of lawsuits.

It is no secret that many attorneys see a potential payday in the wake of the pandemic. There are already hundreds of law firms pitching “coronavirus lawyers” and many have reassigned entire teams and departments to focus on providing legal advice and counsel for COVID-19 cases.

And much like in consumer fraud cases before the pandemic, a favorite tool of coronavirus tort lawyers will be large class-action lawsuits that seek huge payouts. These are the cases that usually end up lining the pockets of legal firms instead of legitimately harmed plaintiffs, as a recent Jones Day report finds. And that does not even speak to whether or not these cases have merit or not.

In debating the next level of pandemic relief for Americans, including a liability shield would be a great measure of confidence for responsible and cautious businesses and institutions in our country.

Whether it is the local community college or bakery, we must all recognize that assigning blame for virus contraction will be a frequent topic of concern. But those accusations must be founded, and be the result of outright harmful and negligent behavior, not just because students are back in class or customers are once again buying cakes.

A liability shield for the responsible citizens of our country is not only a good idea but necessary.

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

El grupo de consumidores consulta el doble estándar inexplicable de la UE sobre los OGM

El grupo internacional de defensa del consumidor señaló que el Parlamento Europeo ha autorizado recientemente una excepción temporal de las normas sobre ingeniería genética, para permitir que el desarrollo de la vacuna Covid-19 se beneficie de la tecnología de OGM.

Hasta hace unos meses, la UE era tajante en su prohibición sobre el uso de OGM en todo ámbito. 

La posición de la UE sobre los organismos genéticamente modificados (OGM) ha sido criticada por el Consumer Choice Center, que lo ha calificado de “doble estándar inexplicable”.

En una declaración, citada por el grupo de consumidores, el Parlamento Europeo dijo: “La excepción facilitará el desarrollo, la autorización y, en consecuencia, la disponibilidad de vacunas y tratamientos de Covid-19”.

En respuesta a esto, el analista de políticas senior del Centro de Elección del Consumidor Bill Wirtz dijo que estaba “desconcertado por el cambio de opinión” de los miembros del parlamento, y agregó:

Si hubieras sugerido algo así hace seis meses, algunos legisladores se habrían enfurecido.

“Ahora que Europa se enfrenta a la mayor emergencia de salud en nuestra vida, la innovación científica se necesita desesperadamente”.

Continuando con el tema de largo ruido, el analista dijo:

“La desafortunada realidad es que los OGM han sido tan altamente politizados que nos hemos alejado de una conversación sobria basada en evidencia.

Ahora es políticamente viable permitir la innovación científica para combatir este virus, pero en el área de la agricultura, todavía nos enfrentamos a un callejón sin salida. Si es seguro para las vacunas, ¿no deberíamos confiar también en la montaña de evidencia científica de que es seguro en los alimentos?

“Necesitamos repensar la directiva de 2001 sobre los OGM, que ha estado a la vanguardia de la desaceleración de Europa en ingeniería genética”, afirmó Wirtz.

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

Cheap Illegal Cigarettes Are Ruining Malaysia, Here’s How

Ask any smoker and they’d tell you that smoking cigarettes is a disgustingly expensive habit.

Costing between RM12 to more than RM20 a pack, after taxes, the average smoker can easily spend more than RM100, a week just, to scratch that nicotine itch.

Because of this high upkeep, it’s no surprise that most Malaysian smokers are turning to cheap, illegally smuggled cigarettes to fulfill their cravings.

According to an international consumer advocacy group, the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), over 60% of Malaysia’s 5 million smokers are regularly consuming illegal cigarettes.

Moreover, it was revealed that Malaysian enforcement authorities had managed to stop more than 450 million cigarette sticks from entering the country between January and June 2020 alone, compared to the over 230 million sticks confiscated over the same period the previous year. Proving that the tobacco black market is flourishing more than ever in the country.

The reason for this is simply because these illegally smuggled cigarettes are way, way cheaper than premium brand buds found over the counter, only costing between RM3 to RM5 depending on where you get them.

Didakwa di mahkamah kerana miliki rokok seludup RM48.16 | Kes | Berita  Harian
A selection of illicit cigarette brands available on the market.
(Berita Harian)

However, these cheap cigarettes do pose more danger to the country than we may have realized.

Healthwise, a 2015 study by University Malaya (UM) revealed that illicit cigarettes have been found to contain three times more tar and nicotine than that permissible by Malaysian law, besides having the tendency to be laced and contaminated by other unknown chemicals and substances, which would probably do untold damage on a smoker and secondhand smoker’s lungs.

Economically, the cigarette black market drains the country out of its tax income. The CCC reports that Malaysia suffers an annual loss of RM5 billion from Malaysian choosing to go for the cheap illegal option.

The existence of such black markets is also detrimental to the country itself, as the income gained from the trafficking and sale of illegal cigarettes inevitably supports criminal gangs and the import of other illicit goods such as drugs, knockoff products, even people.

To address this problem, the CCC suggests a radical reform to the country’s tax on cigarettes.

Given price is a key factor causing consumers to turn to illegal cigarettes, the Government should consider tax and price reforms for tobacco products as a measure to address illegal cigarettes. At the end of the day, reducing the demand for illegal cigarettes by way of tax reforms will also help reduce the sole burden on enforcement in addressing the tobacco black market.

CCC Managing Director Fred Roeder

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

Consumer advocates call for tobacco tax reforms as illicit sales boom

KUALA LUMPUR: Global consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) has warned that the sale and purchase of smuggled cigarettes — which can cost only a third of the price of the legal stuff — will continue to grow barring changes to local tobacco taxes.

In a statement, CCC said black market cigarettes had captured 60% of the market, which caters to an estimated five million smokers in Malaysia.

Fred Roeder, managing director of CCC, called the volume of cigarette smuggling “phenomenal”, adding that their popularity is driven primarily by their low prices.

“Our observation indicates demand for smuggled cigarettes is high because these illegal products are sold as cheap as RM5 (a packet). So, it is no surprise that these cheap smuggled cigarettes have a big demand.

“Smokers may think cheaper and untaxed products are beneficial, especially now when money is tight following the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

CCC claims these illegal cigarettes may often contain up to three times the legal limit of nicotine and tar, which has financial implications on smokers in the long term.

Smuggled cigarettes also cost the government RM5 billion in uncollected tax revenue.

Roeder believes the government should consider tax and price reforms for tobacco products as lower prices for legal cigarettes would reduce demand for contraband.

The illicit cigarette trade is not unique to Malaysia. New Zealand authorities recently nabbed a Malaysian man who attempted to smuggle 2.2 million cigarettes worth NZ$2.72 million (RM7.7 million) into the country.

He faces charges under the Customs & Excise Act.

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

Les nouvelles règles de l’UE pénaliseront les fumeurs et utilisateurs de cigarettes électroniques

Maintenant que la directive de 2011 n'a pas apporté les avantages escomptés par certains États membres, ou, plus vraisemblablement, n'a pas produit le nombre de recettes fiscales dont les États membres ont besoin dans la situation économique actuelle, ils souhaiteraient une révision.

Dans ses conclusions de juin, le Conseil européen a approuvé un nouveau consensus sur les droits d’accises sur le tabac. Les États membres suggèrent des modifications des règles qui augmenteraient le prix du tabac et affecteraient également les produits non liés au tabac tels que les cigarettes électroniques.

Depuis 2011, l’Union européenne dispose d’un droit d’accise minimum commun sur les produits du tabac, ce qui a notamment entraîné une augmentation du prix des cigarettes dans les pays européens où les prix sont comparativement bas (comme la Pologne ou la Hongrie). Les pays voisins où les taxes sont plus élevées affirment que la prévalence des achats transfrontaliers va à l’encontre de leurs propres objectifs de santé publique. Par exemple, les frontaliers français achètent du tabac au Luxembourg.

Les avantages escomptés ne sont pas au rendez-vous

Maintenant que la directive de 2011 n’a pas apporté les avantages escomptés par certains États membres, ou, plus vraisemblablement, n’a pas produit le nombre de recettes fiscales dont les États membres ont besoin dans la situation économique actuelle, ils souhaiteraient une révision. Cette révision, cependant, ne vise pas seulement les produits du tabac conventionnels tels que les cigarettes, le tabac à priser, la shisha, ou les cigares et cigarillos. Pour la première fois, le Conseil européen demande que les produits autres que le tabac soient également inclus dans la directive sur les accises sur le tabac. Il serait ainsi difficile pour les États membres de prétendre que l’objectif est la santé publique et non la réduction des déficits du Trésor, car l’équivalent logique de cette démarche serait de classer les produits non alcoolisés parmi les boissons alcoolisées.

Les cigarettes électroniques ou les dispositifs “heat-not-burn” représentent des alternatives viables pour les consommateurs de produits du tabac conventionnels. Nous savons que, bien qu’elles ne soient pas inoffensives, ces vapeurs sont 95 % moins nocives que la cigarette. Selon toutes les logiques disponibles, les États devraient se réjouir de la prévalence de ces alternatives. Toutefois, le Conseil européen conclut qu’“il est donc urgent et nécessaire de moderniser le cadre réglementaire de l’UE, afin de relever les défis actuels et futurs en ce qui concerne le fonctionnement du marché intérieur en harmonisant les définitions et le traitement fiscal des nouveaux produits”.

Mauvais signal

L’ajout de droits d’accises aux produits à risque réduit envoie un mauvais signal aux consommateurs, à savoir que ces produits sont tout aussi risqués que les cigarettes. Des recherches menées aux États-Unis montrent que chaque augmentation de 10% du prix des produits à faible risque entraîne une augmentation de 11% des achats de cigarettes.

Dans quelle mesure les États membres de l’Union européenne sont-ils sérieux lorsqu’il s’agit d’améliorer la santé publique si leur méthode de prévention consiste à augmenter la charge fiscale pesant sur les consommateurs ? Les cigarettes électroniques sont une chose, mais nous ne devons pas nous faire d’illusions sur l’idée que taxer davantage les cigarettes n’est pas sans effet négatif. Les conclusions du Conseil reconnaissent elles-mêmes que l’Europe est confrontée à une vague de commerce illicite du tabac, et demandent davantage de solutions pour le combattre. Le commerce illégal est en corrélation avec l’augmentation des charges fiscales : en taxant les ménages à faibles revenus sur les cigarettes, qui restent néanmoins un produit légal, nous les poussons sur le marché noir, où des éléments criminels profitent d’une mauvaise gestion de la santé publique. Un rapport publié en 2015 a révélé que la France était le plus grand consommateur de fausses cigarettes d’Europe, avec 15 % de part de marché.

Un profit pour le terrorisme international

En l’absence de contrôle de qualité, ces cigarettes illégales représentent une menace beaucoup plus endémique pour la santé des consommateurs. De plus, les revenus de la vente de ces cigarettes profitent au terrorisme international – le Centre d’analyse du terrorisme français a même montré que les ventes illicites de tabac financent 20 % du terrorisme international. Des organisations telles que l’IRA, Al-Qaida et Daesh financent leurs activités de cette manière.

Les modifications proposées par le Conseil européen à la directive sur les accises sur le tabac vont à l’encontre des objectifs de santé publique et visent à réduire le choix et la santé des consommateurs. Nous devons analyser les changements de règles non seulement en fonction de leurs intentions, mais aussi de leurs résultats potentiels.

Originally published here.

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(*) https://consumerchoicecenter.org/

Sharing economy in the post-COVID world: what’s new?

In May, the Consumer Choice Center published the first-of-its-kind Sharing Economy Index, ranking the best and worst cities in the world for regulations on sharing economy services. The top 10 cities according to the index are Tallinn, Vilnius, Riga, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Kyiv, São Paulo, Tbilisi, and Helsinki. On the other hand, the cities of Prague, Dublin, Amsterdam, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Sofia, Tokyo, The Hague, Luxembourg City, and Athens found themselves at the very bottom of the list.

For better or worse, the world isn’t static: there have been some new developments in the field of sharing economy in the last few months. Many governments have used the pandemic as a precondition to hinder innovation, and yet platform businesses persisted and tapped the demand that challenges brought about by lockdowns and responded with creativity.

Let me start with some good news.

The UK legalises e-scooters

Electric scooters will become legal on roads in England, Scotland and Wales beginning in July if obtained through a share scheme endorsed by around 50 municipal councils. The scooters will be limited to travelling at 15.5mph (25kmph) and forbidden from use on pavement and sidewalks.

UberEats has been killing it during the pandemic

In the first quarter of 2020, Uber Eats revenues went up by more than 50 per cent globally. Uber Freight – an app that helps carriers make hassle-free bookings and allows shippers to tender shipments easily – grew revenues by 57 per cent. In July, Uber also launched a grocery delivery service, partnering with grocery delivery startup Cornershop.

Bolt is now available in Thailand

Today, Bolt, a competitor of Uber, announced that it has rolled out its services in Thailand. That’s a huge win for Thai consumers and riders.

Bolt said its pilot venture in the Thai capital has more than 2,000 drivers already on board and will offer better rates to drivers and riders.

“For a minimum of six months, Bolt in Thailand commits to charging drivers no commission for using the platform and offers fares 20% lower than other competitors,” the Estonian company said.

… And now some bad news. 

Amsterdam regulates Airbnb further

In June, Amsterdam banned short-term accommodation rentals including Airbnb from operating in the three districts of its historical centre.

In other areas of Amsterdam, Airbnb will face new regulations too: hosts must acquire special permits, and renting out their apartments will only be allowed to lease to short-term tenants for 30 days out of the year to groups of a maximum of four people.

Amsterdam was one of the least sharing economy friendly cities, according to our Index, and this new policy only pushes it further down the list.

Lisbon wants to get rid of Airbnb

In June, Lisbon mayor has pledged to “get rid of Airbnb” once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

As part of the affordable housing plan, landlords afraid of their apartments lying empty can apply to rent them to the municipality, for a minimum term of five years. The city, in turn, will be responsible for finding tenants, through the programme targeted at young people and lower-income families.

Uber to face more legal battles in London

A dispute over whether its drivers should continue to be classified as self-employed has begun in the U.K.’s Supreme Court. In a second legal clash scheduled for September, Uber will appeal the loss of its operating license in the UK’s capital.

Despite grim predictions at the beginning of the pandemic, the sharing economy has survived though not without any losses. As with every service that has made our lives easier, platform businesses are extensively enjoyed by millions of consumers globally. Now that we know how great it feels to be able to ride an e-scooters, to rideshare, or to share a flat with locals, governments will have a hard time trying to rid us of those choices. The sharing economy is driven by creativity and entrepreneurship: what doesn’t kill it, makes it stronger.


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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