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Newsletters

Newsletters

April 2021

Spring is upon us, and the CCC has been as active as ever.
Hello!
Spring is upon us, and the CCC has been as active as ever. Over the course of April, my CCC colleagues and I have been passionately defending consumer choice. Here is a snapshot of some of our accomplishments in April:

SUCCESS IN MEXICO!
Our entire team worked throughout the month of April to push back against a content quota proposal in Mexico. Our efforts to combat the law were featured in more than 50 Mexican newspapers after we hosted a successful webinar with Irene Levy, Antonella Marty, Fernando De Fuente, Manuel Molano, Adriana Labardini to discuss how problematic the policy would be. And the good news is……the law has been delayed, and will now have to go under a full review by Mexico’s legislature and be debated in open parliament.
LEARN MORE


COVID VACCINES:
Our Managing Director Fred Roeder was invited to appear on The Mark Dolan show to explain why Germany’s vaccine rollout has been so poor.Fred also got the chance to fly on the world’s first fully vaccinated flight. Check out Fred’s interview with Emirates Airlines COO here:

Fred also got the chance to fly on the world’s first fully vaccinated flight. Check out Fred’s interview with Emirates Airlines COO here:


Canada Should Block A Patent Waiver For Covid Vaccines
Yael and I had our piece titled “Canada Should Block A Patent Waiver For Covid Vaccines” published in Canada’s Financial Post. In the article, we defend intellectual property and encourage the Canadian government to continue to block the erosion of IP rights. 
READ MORE

THE U.S. SUPPORTS TRIPS WAIVER
We published a blog post on the Biden administration’s decision to support the TRIPS waiver that would undermine global IP rights.
READ HERE

CONSUMER PRIVACY
In April we launched a tremendously successful consumer privacy campaign, reaching hundreds of thousands of Americans on the issue of consumer privacy. 

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Our Senior Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz testified at the European Parliament Intergroup for ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development’, on the issue of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Bill stressed the reasons that farmers use crop protection in the first place: to insure that consumer products are safe and affordable. Innovative new technologies such as smart sprayers will also help farmers reduce the amount of pesticides used over time.

You can find Bill’s statement here: 

THE WAR ON PLASTIC
On plastics, Yael and I published our research paper “Deconstructing the war on plastic” which evaluates local, state and federal laws aimed at solving the issue of plastic waste. You can read the full report here.

On top of that, I was a guest on ABC and NBC’s affiliate network in Virginia to talk about Virginia’s new single-use plastic law.
WATCH HERE

JUNK FOOD
My European colleague Maria Chaplia published a policy note on tackling obesity in the EU.
READ MORE

BREASTMILK SUBSTITUTES
Maria also wrote a scathing response to the Philippines recent attack on breastmilk substitutes. 
READ HERE
That might be a wrap for April, but there is still lots of work to do on the frontlines of defending consumer choice. Be sure to follow the CCC’s social media channels, and tune in to our broadcasts on Consumer Choice Radio and the ConsEUmer Podcast.

All the best,
 

David Clement
North American Affairs Manager

March 2021

March: hey there, sunshine, things are looking up!
Greetings!
Temperatures are rising as fast as vaccination rates, and that’s not the only reason we’re smiling here at the CCC.

Across the world, my colleagues have been putting in the hours writing articles, cutting videos, recording interviews, penning research, and submitting to government consultations like no other — and our efforts have won us the prize of Best New Think Tank!
Best New Think Tank
We were awarded the title of one of the “Best New Think Tanks” of 2020 by the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, nestled into their massive report that examines policy organizations around the world.
READ MORE

European Railway IndexNot to be outdone by last year’s efforts, my colleagues Maria Chaplia and Tamar Tarsaidze put their heads together and scoured the Old Continent for data and digits to piece together our 2021 European Railway Station Index, highlighting the most passenger-friendly train stations from the British Isles to the Ural mountains. How did your favorite station rank?

And, wouldn’t you know it, it’s already been featured in top media outlets and newspapers across the continent, including the Daily Mail (with a sour headline as London’s St. Pancras station was demoted), the Independent, Der Spiegel, Der Standard, and every travel blog known to man. 

Okay, not EVERY travel blog, but at least more than I’ve ever heard of.

The fun part of these indices is getting feedback from train and travel lovers galore, who provide always very cordial and nicely-worded responses to our work.

You can check out the full index people are raving (or even fuming) about below.
READ MORE

From Smoking to VapingDid you know that if Indonesia embraced the same policies on vaping as the United Kingdom, it would potentially save the lives of 15 million people? Or in Germany over 4.2 million?

Those are just some of the key takeaways from our latest From Smoking to Vaping interactive map, detailing the very real health benefits that come with embracing both innovation and tobacco harm reduction.

Encouraging smokers to switch habits in favor of less harmful alternatives has the potential for saving hundreds of millions of lives globally, yet many countries still do not follow this approach.

Track how your country could potentially save lives here.
READ MORE

Welcoming Elizabeth Hicks! We’re also happy to announce that we’ve brought on Elizabeth Hicks as our new US Affairs Analyst! 

She’ll be working with me and David on our efforts stateside, reaching out to partners old and new, splashing newsletters with consumer choice content, and connecting with lawmakers to make our visions a reality. Her background is in political education and grassroots advocacy, so we’re thrilled about having her on the team.

Be sure to give her a follow on Twitter!
CHECK OUT HER BIO HERE

Fred made an appearance at an in-person conference! Of course, we wouldn’t be approaching summer if our managing director Fred Roeder wasn’t talking up aviation and travel someplace, and this time he was featured at the Arab Aviation Summit! 

He gave his thoughts on consumer trends in travel, the complexities and problems with vaccine passports, and why some legislative proposals and taxes would end up making travel more expensive and cumbersome for the little guy! Super like.
Would you pay 250 EUR for a COVID vaccine? If you’re still one of the tens of millions without the jab and who’s ready to get the needle to get back to normal, I’m sure you’d say yes.

Let me know if you agree!
READ HERE

Pushing Back Against Australia’s Facebook PlanSpeaking of being shy, you can’t claim that about my colleague David Clement. He appeared on Canadian television with former minister and now TV host Tony Clement (David claims there is no relation) to discuss the bungled media regulations Australia tried to pass over on Facebook and its users.

There is talk of a similar plan in Canada, and David ain’t having any of it. I’ve written about the impact this will have on consumers in Australia, and we can pretty confidently say the same wherever legislators are colluding with major media outlets to ponder the same.

Check out the video segment below.
WATCH

Time to Stand Against Streaming Content QuotasHitting on a similar topic, our colleague Bill Wirtz is (finally) getting into consuming some great TV shows and movies on popular streaming services. Atta boy! He’s been able to stream international productions from his small enclave in Luxembourg and he’s had a blast.

However, if certain content quotas are passed in countries like Mexico, millions of Mexican consumers will be deprived of many of the streaming options Bill can enjoy on his laptop in Europe. These national content quotas would drive down investment and reduce the library of shows and movies that Mexicans can access. That’s a rotten deal for cord-cutters and streamers.

Check out his article in the Brussels Times below.
READ MORE

Hittin’ Those Radio WavesAnd as always, if you like these words, you’ll love this voice. Check out our internationally syndicated radio show Consumer Choice Radio. It’s got a nifty new website with all our feeds for you podcast fans.

Each week, David and I try to break down the latest news and debates affecting consumers and have on guests to provide context.

Some of our recent highlights include Dr. Kimberlee Josephson on “Why Corporations Should Cater to Consumers and Not Causes”, entrepreneur and investor Steve Forbes on Joe Biden’s stimulus bills, and Goodwood Brewing CEO Ted Mitzlaff on why he’s suing the governor of Kentucky for his overzealous COVID restrictions.

We love our radio family and listeners, but the podcast crew is growing! Give us a “subscribe” if you’ve got your phone handy (that is how you’re reading this, right?).
SUBSCRIBE

Innovation or Stagnation?And our colleagues in Europe aren’t shy about broadcasting either! They host regular livestreams featuring EU policymakers and innovators on the themes of the day.

This time, it was about whether EU digital regulations lead us to innovation or stagnation, featuring German MEP Svenja Hahn, Eglė Markevičiūtė, Vice Minister at the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, AEI Fellow Shane Tews, and Kay Jabelli of Computer & Communications Industry Association.

Hear their thoughts on our YouTube and check out the write-up in Parliament Magazine.
WATCH
I would need plenty more space to expound on ALL our activities, so I definitely would recommend you follow our FacebookTwitter, and YouTube!

Until next month, keep up the good spirits, and let’s hope for Normal!

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director

February 2021

Hello,

Happy first day of spring (meteorologically speaking)
I’m excited to share what we have been up to in February! 
Staff retreat in Dubai
The CCC team had a quick getaway in sunny Dubai for a staff retreat. Everyone got tested before and after the retreat and social distancing guidelines were adhered to. This was a great opportunity for the team to catch up and plan for a busy year ahead. We had very interesting sessions about campaigning, public affairs, and insights into policymaking from the partners of our organization. Our team took the Clifton team strength test and turns out our combined strengths do make up for a great team! And of course, we took some time to enjoy what Dubai has to offer and also took a short trip to see the sunrise in the desert. It was very cold but definitely worth it!
Watch the video here
ConsEUmer podcast 
Meat war, private hospitals, fake vaccines, new polish taxes – these are some of the topics that Bill discussed with experts from different fields on his weekly podcast. Make sure to follow the podcast not to miss the upcoming episodes.
Listen here
The Role of IP rights in preventing Future Pandemics
Senior European Affairs manager, Luca Bertoletti hosted a webinar about the role of IP rights in preventing future pandemics. Our guests Franc Bogovič MEP (Slovenia) and James Tumbridge (Venner Shipley LLP) debated on whether the protection of intellectual property rights actually biased towards the inventor or is needed to guarantee prosperity for all, on ways to incentivize innovation without IP rights, ways to improve EU healthcare, etc. 
Watch Here
Preparing for the next virus
Fred and Maria report on a recent event that looked at why the EU should focus on maintaining our justifiably high IP standards and abstain from supporting TRIPS waiver to prepare for future pandemics. They argue that based on the lessons from the pandemic, it is paramount that the EU develops a policy framework that fosters innovation as much as possible. 
Read Here
Fred made a guest appearance at the Bundestag’s Health Committee meeting!
Our managing director, health economist Fred testified in front of the German Parliament’s Health Committee on why patents on covid vaccine are important
Watch Here 
Michael Bloomberg and WHO- name the worse duo, I’ll wait
Michael Bloomberg is known for his love of taxes, bans, and restrictions, and being World Health Organization’s “Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries, gives him all the tools to expand the nanny state idea globally. Yael argues that WHO is focusing on all the wrong issues and billionaire’s nanny mission should be opposed as it creates problems for public health.
Read Here
The fight against the plastic ban continues
Climate activists are pushing the new Biden administration to declare full war on plastic. But David Clement is here to point out that rather than betting the future of our planet on costly and ineffective plastic bans, we should allow innovators and scientists to do their magic and come up with solutions to plastic waste. 
Read here
Best luxury hotels to sit out the global pandemic
The year 2020 was probably one of the worst for the global travel and tourism industry. Unfortunately, 2021 did not bring back travel as we know it: Ongoing travel restrictions, on-arrival quarantines, and dedicated quarantine hotels limit our choice when it comes to travel.We created this index in collaboration with the travel tech company Eddy Travels in order to suggest which luxury hotels are the best to stay in case you are either stuck in one country or who plan to sit out the pandemic in a hotel.
Read the Full Report Here
Save the Date for our Upcoming Webinar on March 3rd
How to safeguard competition in the EU digital market without putting brakes on innovation? How to strike a balance between the Commission’s investigation powers and platforms’ responsibility to not abuse their market position? We aim to bring together distinguished experts in the digital field to answer these and many other questions in order to brainstorm what would be the best way to regulate digital platforms.Here’s the list of our dear speakers-Eglė Markevičiūtė, Ministry of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, -Kay Jebelli, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)- Svenja Hahn, MEP -Shane tews From American Enterprise Institute (AEI)As usual, the webinar will be moderated by Luca.
Register Here
Thank you for your attention, as you can see it’s been quite a productive month! We have a lot of projects in progress, so make sure to follow our social media to be the first to know about them!

Anna Arunashvili

January 2021

Hello,

The fight for #ConsumerChoice has never been more critical. From harm reduction and cannabis to digital single market, innovation and privacy, while last year we were all trying to stay healthy and care for our loved ones, policymakers and governments used this unfortunate time to slash our freedoms and reduce our choice through bans, prohibitionist measures and restrictions.

I am very excited to share with you what the Consumer Choice team has been up to since December and what we are planning for 2021.
An Overview of 2020
In 2020 we had to fight for consumer choice harder than ever. As a result, we were featured more than 1,400 times in the media, reaching over 17 million people. Wow!

On Social media, our supporters helped us spread the message in all five continents. Our tweets had more than a million impressions, our graphics on Instagram had 250 thousand impressions, and even on LinkedIn our content had over 90 thousand impressions. Finally, our campaigns on Facebook reached more than 35 million consumers. 

We can only thank you for your fantastic support in 2020 and we hope you will stay around in 2021!
Follow the Consumer Choice Center
Targeted Advertising
Targeted advertising is an innovative practice. But if the whims of certain regulators and politicians are realized, it would restrict future online innovation and consumer choice. We can’t let that happen.
Learn More
Plastic Bans
Plastic
The city of Philadelphia has officially paused its plastic bag ban, which will now be phased in over the next year and enforced by city officials in April of 2022. While consumer advocates appreciate the delay, the prospect of a bag ban is misguided — and will ultimately do more harm than good, including for the environment.
Read Here
Consumer Choice Radio
Consumer Choice Radio
We are very pleased to announce that the Consumer Choice Radio, our weekly Radio show hosted by Yaël Ossowski and David Clement, is expanding to Canada!

The show will continue to hit the waves in Wilmington North Carolina WFBT 106.7FM every Saturday at 10 AM EST. However, now it will also be internationally syndicated and available to our Canadian neighbours airing in Sauga960AM on Thursdays at 1 PM EST.

Happy listening!
Learn More
Age Restrictions of Vaping Products
Vape
Our Managing Director Fred Roeder wrote this policy note where he takes a closer look at the debate around age restrictions of vaping products, showing best practices from the vaping sector and other industries, and providing insightful policy suggestions. Make sure to read it and share with your local representative if you support harm reduction.
Read Here
CCC promotes Smart Cannabis Regulations at the French National Assembly
On January 13, the CCC’s Yaël Ossowski and Bill Wirtz gave testimony at a committee of the French National Assembly, making the argument for smart cannabis policy when France commits to legalization. The presentations given by both Yaël and Bill highlighted the missed opportunities of Canada’s cannabis policies, recommendations on how to make future regulations consumer-friendly, and the forthcoming regulation of cannabis in Luxembourg.
Watch Here
COVID-19 in Europe: Is the EU losing the vaccine race?
When it comes to Covid vaccinations, Germany stands accused of buying up extra doses, while other EU countries simply aren’t taking all the doses they’re allowed.

Is the financial muscle of Germany at play here as the country is said to be looking after its own interests at the expense of others?

Our own Fred Roeder joined the Roundtable show at TRT World to discuss COVID19 and vaccines in Europe.
Watch Here
The role of IP rights in preventing future pandemics
The next pandemic might just be around the corner. Given how many people have suffered and even lost their lives due to COVID-19, and the immense economic toll it already has on  Europeans, we need to do everything we can to foster and not stifle innovation in Europe. What is the role of IP in boosting innovation and consumer choice?
Save the Date
We have a lot of projects this year and we hope you will join us in the fight for more consumer choice! Subscribe to our channels to stay updated and to learn how you can help us.
Fabio Fernandes
Communications Manager

November 2020

*|MC:SUBJECT|*

It’s November, time to be thankful!


Hi there *|FNAME|*,

Hunkered down, quarantined, or super productive in home office, I hope you’re receiving this newsletter with some measure of delight!

For our team, we’re used to being on the road at this time: testifying before some government committee, meeting new partners and allies, or presenting our research to a group of journalists at a press conference. But alas…


Here are some of the latest and greatest from my colleagues at Consumer Choice Center. We’re thankful for you, your attention, and your belief in our mission.

U.S Elections

The US elections are (finally) (somewhat) over but our struggle for smarter consumer policies is far from done. While the role of social media played a crucial part in the election and was highly debated, I penned an article making the case for how NOT to respond to actions social networks must take to safeguard information.

I called it “How Not to Respond to Alarming Social Media Censorship” — does that catch your attention? 

READ HERE

Election Analysis on Consumer Choice Radio on Big Talker 106.7FM

WATCH HERE

Me on ANews to discuss Elections aftermath

WATCH HERE

Agriculture

Not to be outdone, Fred spoke at the annual meeting of Euroseeds on why consumers deserve to have access to modern agriculture and new breeding techniques such as Gene Editing. You can catch a clip of that speech here.

And always quick with the wit, our colleague Bill Wirtz slammed the EU’s “Farm-to-Fork” strategy, calling it “too much of a political utopia”. Ouch.

READ HERE

How to feed 11 billion people?

You can also find Fred’s piece on how to feed 11 billion people by 2070 in the Parliament Magazine

READ HERE

More Webinars!

Our last webinar on Illicit Trade had over 2,000 viewers — w00t!

Our next webinar will be on November 19th with MEP Liesje Schreinemacher, discussing market place safety in the European Union. Head on over to YouTube to click the “reminder” button when it goes live!

WATCH LIVE HERE

Illicit Trade

Though she can’t travel outside of Europe at the moment, Maria wrote in an article in far-off South Asia in the Sunday Daily Malaysia on how to fight black markets and on Euractiv on the same topic.

Canadian Plastics Ban Would Be A Travesty

And this newsletter wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of our own David Clement, this time in the Toronto Sun newspaper articulating why Prime Minister Trudeau should steer clear of banning plastic — especially in the midst of a pandemic when plastic has become vital to fighting the virus!

READ HERE

How vaping is a gateway out of smoking?

Just to pique your interest a bit more, Maria partnered up with Michael Landl of the World Vapers Alliance to write this study on how vaping is a gateway out of smoking. Several media outlets across the world picked up their paper and we expect to see a lot more action in the coming weeks.

They call it the “Vaping and the Gateway Myth” — LOVE it!

READ HERE

Why the VAT on medicines should be reduced

Bill made the case in English, German, and Indonesian media outlets why the VAT on medicines should be reduced to 0%. It’s vital for patients who need access to life-saving drugs.

READ HERE

Europe Digital Market

Our colleague Maria isn’t done — she wrote an article on why Europe needs to reform its Digital Markets and had it published in Parliament Magazine. You WON’T want to miss.

READ HERE

Legal Reform

Oh yes, and I figured I wouldn’t let you go without a final article on LEGAL REFORM, this time on the public nuisance cases that are bloating our courts and costing consumers. It was featured in the Miami Herald in the days after the election — you’ll even see that some of my predictions came true!

READ HERE

Thank you for your attention, Happy Fall, and hope to see you again soon!

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
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October 2020

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It’s October, it’s spooky time!


Dear *|FNAME|*,

The world without consumer choice would be a truly spooky place to be. There would be no intellectual property to safeguard innovation, no genetic modification as a means to make agriculture more sustainable, no vaping as a safer alternative to smoking, no sugar, no free trade… and no fun at all!

Thankfully, with all the amazing work my colleagues at the Consumer Choice Center are doing, consumers and their choices are in safe hands.

In North America

US Vaping Index: Yaël and David crunched the numbers and ranked all 50 US states on how friendly their regulations are towards vapers. New York and California are the states vapers might want to think twice before moving there.

Read Here

Pushing against a plastics ban

In response to the Canadian government’s plastic ban announcement, David published this thorough critique in the Financial Post highlighting how a plastics ban does little to address marine waste, inflates costs for consumers, and could jeopardize Canada’s position as a trading nation. 

Learn More

Canzuk as a Covid19 vaccine?

The Canadian economy has taken a huge hit as a result of the pandemic. David wrote for the Western Standard on how a CANZUK trade deal could help promote economic growth, and benefit Canadian consumers. 

Read Here

Consumer Choice Radio

Yaël and David interviewed the IEA’s Chris Snowdon on alcohol policy: U.S. dietary guidelines want to decree that no adult should ever enjoy a 2nd beer @cjsnowdon says it’s the latest move by prohibitionists and there’s no evidence to support it. 

Read Here

Divorcing health insurance from jobs and the WHO comes out against lockdowns

In the Boston Herald newspaper, my colleague Yaël made the consumer case for separating health insurance from people’s jobs. This would allow individuals to choose their own plans, increase competition, and lower prices for everyone. Read it here for the bold idea.

Speaking of bold, the World Health Organization, our favorite organization, has finally stated what we’ve known all along: COVID lockdowns hurt the poor and should not be a primary method of trying to control the virus. Yaël breaks it down on FEE.org. 

Read Here

Meanwhile in Europe

Economist’s Panel: On October 8th Fred participated in a panel discussion on Single-Use Plastics which was part of the Economists Sustainability Week.

On September 17th Bill moderated a discussion with two scientists on the future of gene editing in Europe. This event was specifically hosted for German members of parliament and their staff.

On September 24th, I interviewed the World Vapers’ Association Director Michael Landl on how vaping can help to beat cancer in a CCC webinar. Over 7,000 people watched it across platforms. Watch Here.

Euroseeds Conference: On October 13th Fred talked about the consumer perspective on the EU’s Farm2Fork strategy at Euroseeds Annual Congress.

Digital Single Market consultation: Luca joined a high-level consultation on the digital single market and digital services act of the EU. On the digital front, David made the case in the Western Standard why additional platform regulation would hurt Canadian consumers.

Read Here

Infographic: How to feed 10 billion people?

We produced a lot of content on Agriculture and Food Supply:

Bill’s sustainability paper is now available in German

Video: Bill asks three questions on sustainability to Mazaly Aguilar, MEP

Video: Bill asks three questions on the Farm to Fork strategy to Hermann Tertsch, MEP

Interview with Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes

Illicit Trade: Lessons from the Pandemic

Upcoming Webinar on illicit trade: Join us on October 28th for a deep-dive discussion on Illicit trade. During the event, we will touch on very many areas where illicit trade is flourishing, in particular healthcare, digital, and agriculture.

Use the link below to watch the broadcast.

Watch Here

Protecting Intellectual Property in Brazil

In Brazil, a patent application waits between 7 to 10 years, delaying technological evolution. With the rapid technological evolution we have, patent waiting time can age new technologies, making them old by the time they are approved.

Article 40 of the Intellectual Property Rights Law (No. 9,279) recognizes this and, therefore, automatically grants the patent a minimum exclusivity of ten years, to compensate for administrative delays. However, the Federal Supreme Court is expected to rule on this article shortly. Is innovation in Brazil in danger?

My colleague Fabio is fighting for intellectual property rights in Brazil.

Learn More

We’re listening.

Let us know if you have any ideas on what we should be focusing on in the future!

Maria Chaplia
European Affairs Associate
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September 2020

Back to school, back to Parliament, back to work!

It’s definitely a bumpy ride with COVID-19, but we here at the Consumer Choice Center have been working very hard over the summer to keep you more connected and with more choices. Let me give you a guided tour of some of our recent work. Buckle up, it’s quite a ride!


European Airport Index: the Winner is Zurich this year!

As the continent is slowly getting back into travel mode, our 2020 edition of Europe’s most passenger-friendly airports could obviously not be missed. This year’s winner is Zurich Airport! I’m sure you’ll want to know where your closest airport is ranked in Europe’s 30 biggest airports, so click HERE to get straight to the research by Fred Roeder and Tamar Tarsaidze.


Let Brazil create!

The CCC has started a new campaign in Brazil to fight for innovation and against scrapping the provisions of Article 40 protecting intellectual property. Our colleagues Fabio Fernandes and Fred Roeder lead the way in showing legislators that legislative proposals are going off the rails, and how they would hurt consumers. For Brazilians, make sure to follow our Brazilian CCC account HERE.

Also related to intellectual property: Together with 11 Members of the European Parliament, we have signed a letter regarding the TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) flexibilities.

Sustainable food is great

We all want sustainable agriculture, but how do we achieve that? My newest policy note on sustainable agriculture is a toolkit for policy-makers, to make them understand how evidence-based policy-making leads to affordable and safe food that does not overuse natural resources. You can read the full paper HERE.


You might also be interested in an op-ed I wrote about the threat to human health posed by mycotoxin contamination in Parliament Magazine.


Fred Roeder made it all the way into Germany’s prestigious FAZ on sustainability and modern agriculture.


Consumer Choice Radio

We also had the great pleasure to host Kathleen Hefferon PhD from the Department of Microbiology at Columbia University on our very own Consumer Choice Radio. In our interview, we tried to make sense of the opposition to evidence-based policy-making.


Flavours matter

Vape flavours are more than just a gimmick — they are essential tools to help smokers make the switch to vaping products if they choose to do so. In their most recent policy note “Why Flavors Matter” (link), David Clement, Yaël Ossowski, joined by Michael Landl from the World Vapers Alliance make their case that restricting flavoured vaping liquids is the wrong way to go.

Read the paper HERE.


Parlo Italiano?

Not all of us do, but either way it’s a bliss to listen to Luca Bertoletti give his take on VAT holders bonuses in Italy. Did the Italian pension office violate the privacy of millions of Italian? Listen to these two interviews to understand more about this!


The California Fight for Freelancers

The Consumer Choice Center has joined a coalition mi to pass Proposition 22 in California (Yes on Prop 22) that would overturn parts of the anti-freelance and anti-contractor AB5 law for rideshare drivers. We’re the only consumer group that has signed up, and you’ll see much more in the coming months as we push to pass this proposition.

In that spirit, my colleague Yaël Ossowski published an op-ed on a similar topic impacting all of us stuck at home: commission caps on delivery apps. A coalition of groups wants cities to intervene in the delivery app market and dictate prices. That’s bad for consumers and means the cost of getting food to your door will be more expensive. Check out his article for more.


Make restaurants fun again

Over 29 per cent of restaurant owners cannot make a profit during COVID-19, with 60 per cent saying they’ll need to shut down within 90 days if the pandemic continues. In his recent op-ed for the Financial Post, David Clement argues for changes that would not only alleviate burdens on restaurant owners, but also on consumers. 

Here’s a snippet: “If we are going to nudge people back to restaurants, let’s make restaurants fun and affordable again. Simple changes could go a long way to avoiding mass restaurant bankruptcies.”


Argentina gets it wrong

“The Argentinian government will finally need to implement pro-free market reforms instead of holding onto socialist policies such as price controls on telecom services.” Our colleague Maria Chaplia didn’t mince her words on Argentina’s planned price freeze telecommunications services. Luca Bertoletti added: “Argentina deserves better than a populist government that pretends to act in the interests of consumers by extending price controls of TV, internet and mobile services at the expense of future prosperity.” It’s FIRE and we like it! 🔥


Let us know if you have any ideas on what we should be focusing on in the future!

Bill Wirtz

August 2020

August is here and while our social and travel patterns are still very limited due to the ongoing pandemic, we were able to have one of our most productive months ever at the CCC! 

In Latin America, Julio Clavijo and Fabio Fernandes launched the First Annual Edition of the Latin American Consumer Airport Index, seeking to rank the continent’s most passenger-friendly airports. We had important local media hits, such as Valor Econômico, Diário do Grande ABC, Monitor Mercantil, InfoTur Dominicano and Revista Dia-a-Dia. The Index is available here.


On July 14th, the Consumer Choice Center branch in Brazil (CESCO) held its first live stream on the topic of medical cannabis. Our Media Associate Fabio interviewed the first and only organization in Brazil authorized to grow marijuana and produce CBD/THC oil for medical purposes. We had over 75 people watching live and asking questions on this still delicate topic in the country. You can watch the full interview in Portuguese here.


In South Africa our Managing Director Fred Roeder interviewed the shadow minister of Trade and Industry Dean Macphearson on the ongoing prohibition and lockdown measures in the African Horn. The campaign can be found under the hashtag #StopProhibition. 


In North America

Our North American Affairs Manager David Clement was featured on the TV Channel CHCH news in Ontario where he argued in favour of cannabis delivery and online ordering. He was also published in the Financial Post making the case for liberalizing Canada’s airline market and allowing for international competition.

There’s a lot at stake in Washington, D.C. in the next round of negotiations for a pandemic fiscal relief plan. In the Detroit News, Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski makes the case for a liability shield for responsible businesses, organizations, and schools.


CONSUMER CHOICE RADIO

On the airwaves, we had another great set of episodes of Consumer Choice Radio on 106.7FM in Wilmington, N.C. Some of our guests included author Bjorn Lomborg, general surgeon Dr. Jeff Singer, journalist Brad Polumbo, policy analyst Ashley Baker, and private detective Brian O’Shea.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast version of our radio show, which broadcasts each week at 10:00AM EST!


Meanwhile in Europe

CCC participated in the Fin-Tech action plan consultation of the EU Commission, demanding a real digital and financial single market for consumers. The entire document can be found here:


Agriculture Webinar with Norbert Lins

On July 7, our own Bill Wirtz hosted a webinar on European agriculture with European Parliament Agriculture Committee chairman Norbert Lins, vice-chair Mazaly Aguilar, and plant biotechnologist Marcel Kuntz. The European Union has recently unveiled its “Farm to Fork” strategy, which seeks to overhaul the way food is produced in Europe.


Last, the current situation could lead to a growth of Illicit Trade and the black market, and that’s why myself and Bill have written a policy paper where we suggest how to tackle this problem! 

Even in the middle of a pandemic, parts of our team used a few days in early August to meet up (in a very socially distanced way) and discuss strategies for promoting consumer choice in the second half of this year. One of the highlights was this beautifully designed CCC-cake featuring the four policy areas we represent consumers in.

June 2020

Dear Friend,

Summer is here and while our social and travel patterns are still very limited due to the ongoing pandemic, we were able to have one of our most productive months ever at the CCC! A new cool index is out, we had TV appearances on three continents, co-authored letters with elected officials, and contemplated the existence of mold in our walnuts.  

David went on NewzroomAfrika to discuss South Africa’s ban on alcohol and smoking during lockdowns. I flanked this debate with an op-ed on News24. We say #stopprohibition

Americans can sue companies for selling hot coffee but not police officers who violate their rights? Yaël on qualified immunity and legal reform in the Miami Herald. #time4legalreform

Scooters, Taxis, and Baltic Beds: Tallinn stands for tech and consumer-friendliness – The first-ever CCC sharing economy index looked at over 50 cities around the world and found out that Tallinn, Vilnius, and Riga are the top cities for smart sharing economy regulations. Good for consumers in the Baltics and props to our index authors Maria and Tamar who got widely featured by the media.

Policy victory in Ukraine: In May, the Ukrainian government announced it was considering introducing tariffs on imported fertilizers from the EU. We have written extensively in Ukrainian media criticizing such a move arguing why trade protectionism is damaging and costly. On June 24th, the Ukrainian government decided against the quotas in favor of free trade. We are very proud that we have played a role in bringing about this consumer-friendly outcome.

Don’t stop the vaccine now! We co-signed a letter with 9 Members of the European Parliament reminding the EU’s Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan that compulsory licenses for COVID-19 vaccines are not going to get us to a vaccine faster.

Our webinar debate on Intellectual Property Rights between Professor Michele Boldrin and I got over 1,200 views. I also wrote in WirtschaftsWoche on why patents on COVID cures and vaccines are good.

Mold in your food? Yes, that’s a growing global problem called ‘Mycotoxins’! One of these poisonous substances even has the very telling name vomitoxin (ugh…). Why you should care about this issue, and what it has to do with the current food and agricultural policy of the EU, can be read in this paper in English and German authored by Bill.

The CCC participated in World Vape Day and filled two hours of the day-long VapeTV. We also launched an interactive map showing how many smokers could switch to vaping if their country would copy the smart vaping policies of the United Kingdom. David also testified (virtually) in front of British Columbia’s Finance Committee suggesting they repeal their 20% vape tax.

Pusat Pilihan Pengguna means Consumer Choice Center in Malay – CCC Malaysia launched!

We keep fighting for #ConsumerChoice across the globe. Next stop: Fighting the idea that increasing excise and consumption taxes are a good way out of this recession (spoiler: they are NOT!).

Let us know if you have any other ideas on what we should focus on this Summer,

Fred

P.S.: Some media hits we really can’t leave unmentioned:

David on the legalization of blood plasma on TV in Alberta.

Luca and Maria make the case why brands matter now more than ever in Euractiv.

Maria on fertilizer protectionism in Ukraine and why ‘Buy local fertilizer’ policies are bad for consumers.

David in the Financial Post on zoning laws in Canada which got syndicated by over 50 media outlets.

Modern Agriculture is under threat – Bill in Euractiv fighting for innovative food policies.

David on TRT World discussing the WHO’s relationship with China in the light of COVID.

Our interview on Consumer Choice Radio (Episode 24!) with Danish journalist and author Flemming Rose.

David in the Western Standard on Hong Kong and the Communist Party of China 

David and Martin in Daily Maverick on South Africa’s new prohibition.

David on FDA reform and why forcing drug companies to kill puppies is not cool in the Washington Examiner!

CCC participates in the Fintech consultation of the EU Commission.

Mexican media on our vaping research

P.P.S.: Don’t miss our webinar on the future of food in Europe with MEP Norbert Lins, Chair of the EP’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (EPP, Germany), MEP Mazaly Aguilar, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (ECR, Spain), and Marcel Kuntz, Research Director in the Laboratory of Plant and Cell Physiology at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France. Sign up HERE

March 2020

Coronavirus won’t stop Consumer Choice!

The last weeks were definitely crazy for us. After some great policy victories in Brazil and Canada we published two more indices and now find ourselves as an international consumer organization in the midst of the Coronavirus hysteria. Let me share what we have been up to in the last four weeks:

On the road: Washigton, DC!

Yael and I went to Washington DC and met the Federal Communications Commission’s Commissioner Brendan Carr to discuss 5G, NetNeutrality, and #consumerchoice.

The FCC has been recently doing many positive things towards more choice for consumers and showed us its open doors for consumer involvement.

On a diet: Good that the FCC is very close to a stellar donut shop near the DC waterfront


Event on Vaping: Is Nicotine really a Public Health Enemy?

The Consumer Choice Center hosted a panel discussion at Students For Liberty’s LibertyCon 2020 in Madrid. Our Senior Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz joined me to debunk some urban legends on vaping.


CCC at LibertyCon promoting consumer choice!

Last weekend, the Consumer Choice Center was in Madrid attending LibertyCon. It was an amazing opportunity to talk about freedom and choice directly to consumers from all around the world.

Fabio received in our booth hundreds of people, from students, sponsors to speakers interested in finding out more about consumer issues and consumer choice!


On Science: Greenpeace vs. Science – New pesticides report is misleading consumers

A new report by Unearthed — Greenpeace’s “investigative journalism” platform — claims that a large chunk of pesticides sold to farmers are “highly hazardous”.

Their claims are highly misleading and outright wrong, and can have potentially life-threatening consequences.


On Food: Gene Editing Regulation Index

Food could be so much cheaper and better in Europe if the EU would allow novel breeding techniques such as gene editing for plants.

The Gene-Editing Index produced by the Genetic Literacy Project and us shows which countries currently lead the way in offering consumers the future of agriculture.


On Cannabis: Cannabis Europe Event

It’s always hard to get the 2-meter-something of Bill in one picture but this shot shows him in Madrid at Cannabis Europe, discussing European and global efforts towards medical and recreational use of #cannabis.

Our North American colleague David was published in Canada’s Financial Post about commercial cannabis consumption, a topic we are very excited to be working on moving forward.


On the London School of Economics (LSE) beef ban:

Our European Affairs Associate Maria wrote about why banning beef on campus won’t help save the planet.

Nannying students is easy; encouraging them to become responsible consumers mindful of the importance of their freedom to choose is harder. 


On Air: Consumer Choice Radio

Our two usually very harmonious radio hosts David and Yael showed some rifts on the airwaves when discussing probably the most controversial debate after sports: Are you allowed to recline your seat on short flights?

See how this pans out on our YouTube Channel.


On the Mountain: Cannabis Conclave Video

Earlier this year we hosted our annual Cannabis Conclave in the beautiful mountains in Davos, Switzerland. An amazing event that we have mentioned many times.

Thanks to our friends at the Canadian Securities Exchange you can also watch a longer video of our Davos Cannabis Conclave. Enjoy!


On Rail: Europe’s Railway Stations

Europe’s Railway Stations – And the winner has been choo-choo-chosen! Our first ever European Railway Index kept many news busy across the continent. We got over 600 media hits in February alone covering the sister index of the European Airport Index. Proud winners of this year are London St. Pancras, Zurich Main Station, and Leipzig Main Station. Stay tuned for more consumer indexes coming your way!


Growing our team

On the other side of the world: Welcome our new Indonesian Policy Fellow Haikal who already published several articles on some of our core issues such as innovation in medicine and harm reduction.


Onwards: While the measures trying to contain the Coronavirus might slow down some of our in person activities and conferences such as meetings of the Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Brands Interest Group, we are committed to continue our battle for consumer choice through media and online!

Stay tuned for a much more entertaining newsletter by our new colleague Bia in April.

In the meantime please consider joining us as a card-carrying and dues paying member of the CCC – We need your support to fight for YOUR right to choose!


Fred Roeder

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