Recent Media

Legal Cannabis in Canada is More Expensive than the Black Market

“The taxes and fees create prices that are high out of the gate, and then a lack of competition prevents those prices from being slowly pushed down,” David Clement, the North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Center, told CBC Radio-Canadaat the time. “It costs half a billion [over five years] to enforce the rules and regulations in the Cannabis Act, so in order to generate the revenues to cover that, they’ve implemented fees and licenses on licensed producers.”

Read more here

L’État français augmentera encore vos prix d’avion

La ministre des Transports Elisabeth Borne a annoncé le mardi 9 juillet que le gouvernement va mettre en place dès 2020 une écotaxe de 1,50 à 18 euros sur les billets d’avion pour tous les vols au départ de la France, sauf vers la Corse et l’Outre Mer et pour les vols en correspondance. 

L’année dernière, le même gouvernement avait décidé de réduire cette taxe de 1,20 euros à 90 centimes afin d’aider le secteur de l’aviation. Avec la suppression de l’augmentation la taxe intérieure de consommation sur les produits énergétiques (TICPE), l’État a décidé de récolter les recettes fiscales dans un autre secteur du transport. 

Cette taxe aura des répercussions sur les coûts de vos billets d’avion. L’agence pour le choix du consommateur s’oppose à cette taxe en France, ainsi qu’au niveau de l’Union européenne. Notre mouvement #HandsOffMyCheapFlights (ne touchez pas à mes vols pas chers) fait campagne contre une taxe de départ européenne de 7 euros par vol.

En février, le gouvernement néerlandais a commencé à diffuser une prise de position suggérant à l’UE d’introduire une taxe de départ sur les vols au départ de l’Union européenne. Le document promu par le secrétaire d’État néerlandais aux finances, Menno Snel, propose de mettre en place une taxe de 7 euros par vol passager dans tous les États membres.

L’UE28 compte près de 1,5 milliard de passagers aériens au départ chaque année. Les projets néerlandais coûteraient aux consommateurs européens 10 milliards d’euros par an et pourraient empêcher de nombreux Européens à rendre visite à des amis ou à étudier à l’étranger.

Pour un don de 7 euros, vous deviendrez membre officiel du mouvement Hands Off My Cheap Flights et recevrez un badge unique portant votre nom. Le logo du mouvement Hands Off My Cheap Flights sera utilisé tout au long de la campagne pour signifier l’importance de votre investissement et pour faire progresser votre choix de consommateur à l’aide de divers outils de marketing.

Pour un don de 50 euros, vous deviendrez l’une des principales voix du mouvement Hands Off My Cheap Flights. Vous serez mis en vedette sur le site Web de la CCC en tant que partisan de la campagne et vous serez invité à partager vos idées sur la question. 

Nous mettrons fin à la taxe de départ si nous travaillons ensemble

Latvia proposes ban on alcohol advertising

The Latvian Health Ministry has proposed a ban on all alcohol advertising, including television, radio and online – a move the Consumer Choice Center has criticised.

he plans were included in the Latvian Health Ministry’s draft of its national health strategy, and included a proposal to limit the availability of alcohol at certain points of sale.

However, the Consumer Choice Center, which represents consumers in more than 100 countries and monitors regulatory trends, said the ministry was “going down the wrong path with this strategy”.

Bill Wirtz, senior policy analyst at the Consumer Choice Center, commented: “Alcohol is a legal product, therefore consumers should be allowed to be informed about it. The belief that a restriction of advertising reduces alcohol-related health concerns is antiquated.

“The ministry also believes it needs more monitoring of the illegal alcohol market in the country. But there is no need for long investigations: high alcohol taxes have created a fertile ground for this shadow economy.

“Talinn and Riga have recognised this fact by moving to reduce taxes on alcohol. This national health strategy of banning advertisement, however, goes down the way of Lithuanian alcohol policies, which get stricter by the year, without showing added benefits.

“Patronising consumers and educating them are two fundamentally different things. It appears the Latvian government does not yet know how to tell both apart.”

Read more here

The EU-Mercosur deal is a chance to put consumers first

The free trade agreement between the European Union and the South American trading bloc Mercosur (namely Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay) should be celebrated by consumers across the EU. Ideally, by dining out on the suddenly more affordable beef, poultry, sugar, and honey imported from the Mercosur countries. But before that meal comes, the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement (FTA) must undergo a complex ratification process.

Much has been said about the significance of the deal, and not without a reason: it’s a historic event. With 93% of tariffs to be scrapped on both sides, the agreement will not only put cheaper and more diverse products on the shelves, it will also send a powerful pro-trade message to the world.

There have not been many significant global trade agreements since the Uruguay Round of 1986-1993. Every FTA should be thought of as an attempt to put consumers first. The fact that after 20 years of negotiations, the EU-Mercosur deal had been finally concluded signals a crucial thing: the EU has changed the rules of the game in favour of consumers and weakened the power of protectionists. This is a momentous victory as the EU’s determination to protect domestic agriculture is well known and it has blocked numerous trade deals to date.

Winning the battle, however, is far from winning the war. The agricultural lobby will strike again on a member state level, and it is essential that national governments do not fall prey to their calls for special protection. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has already voiced his concerns that the deal would hurt the beef sector, which is why Ireland is inclined to vote against the deal. Yet the Mercosur bloc would only be able to export 99,000 tonnes of beef into Europe annually, with an average tariff of 7.5 per cent. Since Ireland alone produces 520,000 tonnes of beef annually, Varadkar’s opposition to the deal seems political rather than economic.

All deals involve compromise and difficult choices. In terms of FTAs, the choice is either to protect a vulnerable sector from foreign competition at the expense of consumers, or to shift the benefits to consumers by weakening vested interests. By choosing the former, opponents of the EU-Mercosur FTA would prevent consumers from enjoying lower prices and, therefore, make them bear the costs. Not only is this unfair since consumers are a far larger group, but it also means that choosing protection is more politically profitable.

Why? Because there is an asymmetry of information in place: protected industries know what they are going to lose as a result of free trade agreements while consumers are unaware of how they might benefit them. They therefore have little incentive to organise against protectionists which allows policymakers to act at the whim of special interests.

It cannot go on like this anymore. The failure of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations and the hostile uncertainty around the current trade negotiations between the EU and the US are signs that the interests of European consumers have been ignored for too long. The EU-Mercosur deal is an fantastic opportunity to finally put consumers first.

The deal is perceived as a threat by many because they fail to recognise there is a difference between ‘free trade’ and a ‘free trade agreement’. Free trade is the unhindered flow of domestic and foreign goods, and FTAs are far from this ideal. Trade agreements these days cover a broad spectrum of issues and represent a commitment to trade liberalisation mixed with a need to retain some regulations.

It’s also important to remember that all changes following from the deal would be implemented over the course of five years. This would give domestic producers time to prepare for an increase in supply from abroad. In the meantime, consumers should keep an eye on the ratification process and continue to emphasise the values of international trade. Trade is about interstate cooperation, increased choice, and cheaper products. Trade agreements such as the EU-Mercosur deal make the world more open, more interconnected, and more peaceful. Now that is something worth celebrating.

Read more here

Wissenschaftliche Rosinenpickerei – Die Grünen wieder als Verbotspartei? – Ein Kommentar

Die Grünen wollen die industrielle Landwirtschaft in Deutschland komplett verbieten. Für Verbraucher und Landwirte würde das große und teure Veränderungen mit sich bringen.

Wir Grüne im Bundestag stehen für eine bäuerlich-ökologische Landwirtschaft“, heißt es auf der Webseite der Grünen Bundestagsfraktion. Man würde sich für gentechnikfreies Essen, eine pestizidarme Landwirtschaft, mehr Ökolandbau und  regionale Vermarktung einsetzen.

Mit „einsetzen“ meinen es die Grünen ernst, da die Partei nunmehr nicht weniger als das komplette Verbot der industriellen Landwirtschaft fordert. Nachdem jahrelang der Bioladen eine Nische für Verbraucher die anders einkaufen wollen bedeutete, sollen Bioprodukte nun also Pflicht werden.

Auch im Ausland schlägt das Wellen. Der Daily Telegraph in Großbritannien schreibt,dass das Image der Grünen „prohibition party“, also einer Verbotspartei, das man bisher abschütteln wollte, zurückkehrt. Warum dies Wellen schlägt ist ersichtlich:

Die Grünen erleben einen konstanten Wählerzufluß in Deutschland, und damit sind sie und ihre Politik so ernst zu nehmen, wie während ihrer letzten Beteiligung an der Bundesregierung.

Verbieten wollen die Grünen auch die Genschere, die durch Techniken wie CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) bekannt ist. Mit diesen Systemen können Forscher Gene in lebenden Zellen und Organismen dauerhaft verändern und in Zukunft Mutationen an genauen Stellen im menschlichen Genom korrigieren und somit genetische Krankheitsursachen zu behandeln.

In der Landwirtschaft kann die gleiche Technik ebenfalls zum Einsatz kommen. Die Grünen sehen das „Genome-Editing“ gleich mit der Frage der genetisch veränderten Organismen (GVO), die für die Partei ebenfalls weiter verboten gehören.

Hier stimmt die Grünen-Position inzwischen nicht mehr mit der der eigenen Jugend überein. Bereits letztes Jahr verlangten die Grüne Jugend in Niedersachsen „die Debatte um grüne Gentechnik ohne Dogmen neu beginnen und auf wissenschaftlicher Basis politisch argumentieren“.

Neue Kritik gab es auch dieses Jahr. Im Parteibeschluss der Grünen Jugend Sachsen-Anhalt heißt es Ende März:

Heute ist es gerade für die Bewältigung der kommenden globalen Herausforderungen elementar wichtig, diese historische Position [komplettes Verbot von GVO] zu überdenken“

Diese Wissenschaftsferne ist verwunderlich, da die Grünen beim Klimawandel meist sehr wissenschaftlich argumentieren. Auch wenn die daraus resultierenden Politikvorschläge, radikal und gewagt sind, zitieren sie wissenschaftliche Studien als Basis für ihre Forderungen rigoros. In der Landwirtschaft hingegen verhält die Partei sich dogmatisch.

Wer GVOs und Pestizide in Wissenschaft und Politik verteidigt muss von internationalen Großkonzernen gekauft worden sein. Skeptiker des Klimawandels funktionieren hier gleich: Wissenschaftler, die den Klimawandel beweisen, müssen von irgendwelchen einflussreichen Kreisen gekauft worden sein.

Auf der Strecke bleibt die wissenschaftliche Methode und faktenbasierte Politik.

Wo führt das alles nun hin? Genome-Editing ist wichtig für weiteren wissenschaftlichen Fortschritt, doch aktuelle Entscheidungen vom EU-Gerichtshof in Luxemburg, sowie dem Widerstand von verschiedenen Umweltaktivisten in Deutschland, machen dem schnell ein Ende.

Für Landwirte heißt das weniger Fortschritt und somit die Weiternutzung von ebenso unpopulären Pestiziden, oder Kupfer als Fungizid in der Biolandwirtschaft. Unterdessen wird im Ausland schneller geforscht. Eine weitere Abschottung in der Handelspolitik wäre dann wieder nötig um die stehengebliebenen Landwirte in Europa vor ausländischen Produkten zu „schützen“.

Verbrauchern würde nach solchen Verboten die Wahl fehlen. Bio oder nicht-bio bleibt weiterhin eine große gesellschaftliche Diskussion. Sie sollte allerdings nicht durch die Abschaffung der konventionellen Landwirtschaft gelöst werden, sondern Aufklärung und Innovation.

Die Jungen Grünen in Sachsen-Anhalt schreiben in einer ihrer Forderungen:

Das Schüren von irrationalen Ängsten zum Erreichen eines politischen Zieles lehnen wir grundsätzlich ab, das gilt auch für Gentechnik.“

Das ist ja schon mal ein guter Anfang.

Der Autor Bill Wirtz arbeitet als Senior Policy Analyst für das Consumer Choice Center. Twitter: @wirtzbill

Read more here

Continued cap on pot shops draws criticism

The Ford government’s decision to hold a second lottery for retail cannabis store licences is drawing a mixed review from the Consumer Choice Centre.

The centre said it is pleased Ontario plans to open another 50 stores, on top of the 25 operating across the province now, but criticized the decision to maintain a cap on the number of stores.

North American Affairs Manager David Clement said the announcement is both good and bad news for Ontario consumers.

“It is great the government is moving to increase the number of storefronts, but the existing cap, and the prequalification criteria, miss the mark,” he wrote in a release. “We don’t see any justification for the cap to continue to exist when the province has stated that it is committed to uncapping the retail market in the long run.”

The centre said the confirmation of $250,000 in cash or the equivalent, a letter of credit for $50,000, and a secured retail space is “a huge barrier to entry, and significantly increases costs for retail operators. Those costs will ultimately end up being passed on to consumers.”

It pointed out that other businesses like bars, clubs, restaurants, corner stores, and grocery stores that sell alcohol and cigarettes do not face the same heavy burdens.

The centre believes the increased cost for consumers and the limit on locations to buy legal cannabis will drive users to the black market.

“A very simple solution would be to approve all applicants who already have retail space acquired, and do so without a cap on the number of stores — This would ensure that applicants are serious, without the heavy-handed financial requirements,” the statement said. “Doing so would drastically improve Ontario’s retail market for cannabis, which would significantly increase the likelihood of Ontario consumers purchasing cannabis legally.”

Read more here

Attempts To Block Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency May Backfire

Consumer group: Congressional attempt to block Facebook‘s Libra cryptocurrency harms consumer choice and will backfire

Washington, D.C. – Days after Facebook announced its new Libra cryptocurrency project, federal lawmakers issued stark warnings to the social media platform, and have now requested the project be put on ice.

The lawmakers issuing the warnings were Rep. Maxime Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, as well as ranking member Rep. Patrick McHenry. Sens. Mark Warner and Sherrod Brown both stated independently that Congress “cannot allow” such a project.

In response, Consumer Choice Center Deputy Director Yael Ossowski says the lawmakers’ threats are harmful to consumer choice, and will ultimately backfire.

“Overseeing regulation on Internet and financial firms is important, but the ‘regulate first, innovate later’ mentality that came in response to Libra should give every Internet user pause. If every new Internet innovation is now subject to kneejerk congressional approval, that sets a dangerous precedent for the future of consumer choice online,” said Ossowski.

“Consumers have the right to choose if they want to use cryptocurrencies or social networks, and are aware of the great risks and benefits that go along with that. People want an alternative and they’re interested in new digital tools online. That’s why there is so much interest.

“Allowing political figures to freeze future innovations and projects because of temporary partisan politics will keep millions of consumers from being able to enjoy regular goods and services they enjoy online, not to mention being able to connect with thousands of their friends and family online.

“And it won’t stop here. If these threats continue, Bitcoin and dozens of other cryptocurrencies, as well as other social media platforms that millions of users have adopted, will also face well-intended but flawed regulation.

“We must have smart regulation that encourages competition, protects privacy, and ensures consumer choice. Prior restraint of innovation would be the opposite of that,” said Ossowski.


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.

Read more here

Winter is Coming para programas como Game of Thrones no Brasil

O inverno não começou apenas no hemisfério sul, mas também pode começar em breve para milhões de telespectadores brasileiros. Uma regulamentação poderá em breve ser responsável pelo desaparecimento de programas como o Game of Thrones e eventos esportivos, como a Liga dos Campeões da UEFA das nossas televisões. Se os políticos não agirem rapidamente, poderemos comprometer a competitividade do Brasil a longo prazo nos serviços digitais.

Os mercados de mídia, digital e de telecomunicações convergem em todo o mundo. Não há mais uma barreira clara entre esses setores, mas um mercado convergente e único se formou. Os agentes neste mercado são mais diversificados e maiores em tamanho de mercado do que antes e a competição é completamente diferente do que temos visto no passado.

Novos operadores estão crescendo graças às fusões e os reguladores precisam ter uma abordagem diferente nesse ponto.

O exemplo brasileiro, em contraste, mostra que a regulamentação está impedindo a integração com mercado único digital. Limitando significativamente o desenvolvimento do “mercado do futuro”, como o mercado digital é frequentemente conhecido.

Como em outros setores da economia, o Brasil precisa ter como meta criar um mercado digital único, no qual as operadoras possam integrar conteúdos e canais para oferecer serviços de mídia melhores e mais abrangentes aos seus clientes. Esta importante necessidade não é algo legalmente possível no Brasil atual.

Em particular, um artigo de uma legislação de 2011 sobre fusões entre empresas de telecomunicações e empresas de distribuição e licenciamento de conteúdo audiovisual no mercado de TV por assinatura.

Este artigo é considerado anacrônico mesmo pelo presidente da ANATEL, órgão regulador de telecomunicações do Brasil, “porque está indo contra a convergência que está desenvolvendo no novo ecossistema digital”.

O regulamento não está afetando apenas uma importante oportunidade para o Brasil, sendo a fusão entre a AT&T e a Time Warner, mas também afeta a possibilidade de o país continuar atraindo investidores. Ou seja, dificulta a possibilidade de um desenvolvimento digital mais rápido e de mais serviços prestados aos consumidores.

Um ecossistema digital do século 21 é considerado um mercado em que todos os participantes da arena digital podem ter uma concorrência justa, graças também ao desenvolvimento das conexões 4G e 5G.

O mercado brasileiro de dados móveis está se desenvolvendo muito bem e a tecnologia 4G é amplamente adotada. Isso ajuda a facilitar a mudança do mercado com mais de 130 milhões de usuários de conexões de internet móvel de alta velocidade

A chegada do 5G nos próximos anos irá desencadear uma integração vertical ainda mais rápida entre diferentes setores, como foi dito por Leonardo de Morais, presidente da ANATEL.

É uma idéia anacrônica de que o mercado poderia ser segmentado por subcategorias, como telefonemas, anúncios ou conteúdo, como no passado. O papel das autoridades tem que mudar devido a essa nova realidade. A competição justa deve ser planejada não apenas em uma visão clássica, mas também entre operadoras em diferentes setores que agora estão competindo diretamente: um exemplo clássico é uma competição entre os provedores Over the Top (como Amazon Video ou Netflix) e TV por assinatura.

Ser atraente para os investimentos estrangeiros é altamente importante em uma indústria global, como os mercados digital e de mídia, e um elemento-chave para o sucesso do desenvolvimento de novos serviços para os consumidores.

Um ecossistema digital do século 21 no Brasil só é possível se a proibição da integração vertical for revogada. Caso contrário, os consumidores serão prejudicados tendo menos canais de TV ou menos conteúdo disponível na TV por assinatura.

(* Sobre os autores: Fred Roeder é diretor do Centro de Escolha do Consumidor; Andrea Giuricin é sócio da TRA Consulting e professor adjunto da University Milano Bicocca; Andre Freo é professor e gerente de operações Centro de Escolha do Consumidor (Cesco). O artigo é um resumo de uma análise política sobre esta questão, que pode ser encontrada em www.chegadebarreiras.org. O ponto de vista manifestado neste artigo não necessariamente reflete a posição de TELETIME)

Read more here

Svarsto naują aviacijos mokestį: kiek lėktuvų bilietai brangtų Lietuvoje

Ragina politikus neskubėti

Nevyriausybinės vartotojų teisių organizacijos „Consumer Choice Center“ vadovas Fredas Roederis, kad naujas europinis mokestis pakenktų vartotojams.

„Keliavimas oru per paskutinius dešimtmečius tapo kur kas pigesnis. Tai demokratizavo mobilumą, nes net mažesnes pajamas turintys vartojai gavo galimybę keliauti užsienyje“, – pranešime žiniasklaidai cituojamas organizacijos vadovas.

Jo teigimu, Nyderlanduose ar Švedijoje 7 eurų dydžio mokestis nebūtų didelis, bet ne tokiose turtingose ES valstybėse jis būtų gana juntamas. Kitokio tipo papildomas skrydžių apmokestinimas esą irgi turėtų neigiamos įtakos vartotojams.

„Klimato iššūkiai svarbūs, tačiau jie negali būti sprendžiami paprasčiausiai stengiantis išlaikyti vartotojus namuose. Nauji lėktuvų modeliai turi kur kas efektyvesnius variklius ir ne už ilgo taps prieinami rinkoje. Politikos pasiūlymų skubinimas niekur nenuves“, – komentavo F. Roederis.

Read more here

Supreme Court Makes the Right Decision on Modernizing Alcohol Laws

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
@YaelOss
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – In a 7-2 decision handed down yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Tennesse law that prohibits new state residents from obtaining liquor licenses.

The law required a two-year residency in the state before applicants could apply for a liquor license for a new business, shutting the door to entrepreneurs and depriving consumers of products they otherwise would have enjoyed.

The main issue up for consideration in Tennessee Wine And Spirits Retailers Assn. v. Thomas was whether the 21st Amendment, which repealed alcohol prohibition in 1933, allowed states carte blanche to pass alcohol laws that effectively violated the commerce clause.

In response, Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director at the Consumer Choice Center, said “the Supreme Court made the absolute right decision, and it gives a total endorsement for the modernization of our Prohibition-era state alcohol laws.

“In many southern states and beyond, alcohol-control laws are some of the most byzantine and backward on the books. Indeed, many have not changed in the 86 years since the end of Prohibition.

“These laws treat adults like children, stunt economic growth, deprive consumers of better choices, and drastically increase costs for everyday people who just want a drink at the end of a hard day’s work.

“The Supreme Court’s decision isn’t as expansive as consumers would like, but it at least begins the conversation about how we can liberalize and modernize our alcohol laws for the 21st Century.

“Now is the time to explore getting rid of state liquor monopolies, protectionist limits on distribution, crony alcohol commissions, the requirements to use wholesalers, bans on shipping across state lines, punitive taxes, and other restrictive regulations that limit the creativity of entrepreneurs to deliver better products that consumers love.

“With more modern alcohol policies, entrepreneurs will have more room to grow their businesses, consumers will have access to better products tailored for their tastes, and we will finally close the book on the destructive era that was alcohol Prohibition in this country,” concluded Ossowski.

CCC’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries 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.

Scroll to top