Adopting failed policies: Will Singapore jeopardize its leadership in investor confidence?

While Singapore celebrates Intellectual Property Week in September 2018 aiming to become one of the global champions of intellectual property rights and investor confidence the Singaporean Ministry of Health pushes at the same time for a policy that would lead to the opposite and significantly weaken Singapore’s leadership in innovation friendliness and brand freedom in the ASEAN region. The city state could become the first Asian country to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes citing that this will reduce smoking rates and thus positively impact the health of Singapore’s population. And while the reasons for introducing plain packaging are noble and applaudable evidence from countries that have already implemented this policy suggest that it simply doesn’t work.

Australia being the world’s first country banning visible brands on cigarette packs saw a surge in organized crime making a fortune with selling cigarettes on the black market. Officially sold cigarette consumption went down but this decline got compensated by the rise of illegally sold tobacco products bypassing government quality control.

Another piece of evidence on how ill-advised this policy is the fact that French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn publicly admitting that smoking rates in her country were not impacted by plain packaging.

Some other European countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland followed Australia’s policy on banning brands while ignoring the hard fact that the only ones who really benefit from it are criminals and terrorist groups.

Recently the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that Australia did not violate its rules by banning branding for tobacco products and made it look as it was an isolated issue. The latest push by several Australian politicians to introduce plain packaging for financial products such as consumer loans speaks another language. Once the floodgates of branding bans have been opened it is easy to infringe on other products’ brand freedom.

Currently policy makers and public health advocates around the world are discussing plain packaging for breakfast cereals and Chile has even introduced this bizarre-sounding policy claiming that it protects children. The Mayor of London has announced advertising bans for fast food in public transport and Thailand banned food ads targeted to young adults in 2017.

Singapore currently ranks 5th in the UN’s Global Innovation Index and first in the ASEAN region. The introduction of stricter rules on how infant formula milk can be advertised and marketed in late 2017 were an unusual and counter-intuitive step away from Singapore’s regional leadership in brand freedom. It seems that plain packaging for tobacco products is next in Singapore’s pipeline towards brand infringement. A slippery slope towards more regulation and less brand freedom could include many additional policy measures and result in a massive loss of investor and consumer confidence in Singapore.

Policies that boost black markets in and around Singapore, do not cause the desired effect, and weaken its role as a regional and global champion of markets and investments should be opposed. If it wants to maintain its very strong global and regional position in brand freedom and innovation Singapore should focus on evidence-based policies and embrace brand freedom instead on infringing on commercial speech and freedom of expression.

 

mm

About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access 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. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Malbouffe: enlever Tony le tigre ne fera pas manger sainement les enfants

LA LIBRE: Ils sont les meilleurs juges de l’éducation de leurs enfants. Restreindre la publicité de produits dits “junk food” dans le but de protéger les enfants est une défiance vis-à-vis du jugement des parents.

READ MORE

mm

About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Industry bodies cry foul over TfL plans to ban junk food ads

CAMPAIGN: The policy was blasted by transatlantic anti-regulation campaign group Consumer Choice Center, with managing director Fred Roeder calling it “heavy-handed and paternalistic”.

READ MORE

mm

About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access 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. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

France’s tobacco branding ban fails to deliver: An alternative approach is needed

CONTACT:

Luca Bertoletti

European Affairs Manager

Consumer Choice Center

 

France’s tobacco branding ban fails to deliver: An alternative approach is needed

Brussels, BE – After more than a year with a branding ban on tobacco products, new numbers published by the French Observatory for Drugs and Addiction reveal that cigarette sales have been cut by less than 0.7 percent.

Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said this represents a failure on the part of the French government and should prompt them to turn course.

“After more than a year of plain packaging for tobacco products in France, the policy has failed to significantly reduce smoking rates,” said Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC).

“Removing brands from the packs doesn’t change the behavior of the consumers, but instead promotes sales on the black market. That is troubling for public health advocates and consumers alike.

“If the French government wants to reduce the numbers of smokers it should embrace the use of harm-reducing nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and not ban brands. Brands are a powerful source of information for consumers that help them navigate among different levels of quality and price. Other countries should learn from the failure of plain packaging in France and drop this misguided policy,” said Bertoletti.

***CCC European Affairs Manager Luca Bertoletti is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

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.

mm

About Luca Bertoletti

Luca graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan in December 2014. He worked as a Business Economics Analyst for the Italian magazine TheFielder in Milan and as Think Thank Coordinator for the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a fellow of Competere Institute in Rome, a columnist for Atlantico Quotidiano, and he sits on the scientific board of New Direction Italia. He has been featured in the New York Times, Radio RAI, RAI 1, El Economista, The National and many other newspapers.

L’esperimento Australiano dei Pacchetti Neutri sul tabacco è stato un disastro: L’Italia deve evitarlo.

AREA PRESS: Il primo Dicembre 2012 l’Australia ha implementato per la prima volta nel mondo i pacchetti neutri sui prodotti tabacchiferi, limitando l’uso di colori, loghi e trademarks sui pacchetti.

READ MORE

mm

About Luca Bertoletti

Luca graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan in December 2014. He worked as a Business Economics Analyst for the Italian magazine TheFielder in Milan and as Think Thank Coordinator for the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a fellow of Competere Institute in Rome, a columnist for Atlantico Quotidiano, and he sits on the scientific board of New Direction Italia. He has been featured in the New York Times, Radio RAI, RAI 1, El Economista, The National and many other newspapers.

Canada Can Lead The Way On Pot, Vapes and Plain Packs

HUFFINGTON POST: The world is paying attention to Canada right now. Two very important pieces of legislation on consumer products are being debated, which could provide many lessons for the world.

READ MORE

mm

About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist and informational entrepreneur. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter at Watchdog.org. He is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

L’esperimento Australiano dei Pacchetti Neutri sul tabacco è stato un disastro

COMUNICATO-STAMPA: L’Italia deve evitare di fare l’errore di proporre pacchetti standardizzati sui pacchetti di sigarette!.

READ MORE

mm

About Luca Bertoletti

Luca graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan in December 2014. He worked as a Business Economics Analyst for the Italian magazine TheFielder in Milan and as Think Thank Coordinator for the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a fellow of Competere Institute in Rome, a columnist for Atlantico Quotidiano, and he sits on the scientific board of New Direction Italia. He has been featured in the New York Times, Radio RAI, RAI 1, El Economista, The National and many other newspapers.

Australien feiert 5 Jahre Plain Packaging – Aber gibt es wirklich Grund zur Freude?

HUFFINGTON POST: Es wäre an der Zeit, dass die internationale Gesundheitslobby das Scheitern von Plain Packaging zugibt, Politik wieder Evidenz folgt und damit aufhört Daten und Fakten zu ignorieren.

READ MORE

mm

About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access 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. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

L’esperimento Australiano dei Pacchetti Neutri sul tabacco è stato un disastro: L’Italia deve evitarlo

COMUNICATI: Anche se l’intento del programma australiano era benevolo, esso ha miseramente fallito nel produrre gli effetti desiderati.

READ MORE

mm

About Luca Bertoletti

Luca graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan in December 2014. He worked as a Business Economics Analyst for the Italian magazine TheFielder in Milan and as Think Thank Coordinator for the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a fellow of Competere Institute in Rome, a columnist for Atlantico Quotidiano, and he sits on the scientific board of New Direction Italia. He has been featured in the New York Times, Radio RAI, RAI 1, El Economista, The National and many other newspapers.

Plain tobacco packaging ‘fails’ in Australia

TALKING RETAIL: Australia’s introduction of plain tobacco packaging has been branded a failure, five years after its implementation.

READ MORE

mm

About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.