25 MEPs support brand freedom

Consumer Choice Center presents signatories of “Brands Matter” pledge

Brussels, BE – The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) has revealed the names of the 25 signatories of the “Brands Matter” pledge. The CCC is aiming to gain support for the cause of brand freedom in the European Parliament, and get clear responses from lawmakers on this vital consumer issue.
Commenting on the pledge, Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager of the Consumer Choice Center, said that one of its key objectives of “Brands Matter” is to emphasise a strong link between brand freedom and innovation, and how it can help embrace entrepreneurial spirit to the benefit of consumers.
“One example is the recent emergence of local and slow food cultures and the success of craft beers which would not be possible without local branding and novel marketing techniques. Consumers benefit from innovations of local and novel brands,” said Bertoletti.
“The CCC is using this pledge to raise awareness of brand freedom’s role in protecting and advancing consumer choice in the EU. Brands enhance the customer’s ability to interpret and process information, improve confidence in the purchase decision and affect the quality of the user experience. They achieve this in a variety of ways, including reducing decision-making time, providing safety, adding value to the product, or shaping local identity,” added Bertoletti.

Our signatories are:

Lara Comi, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia, vice-chair of the EPP)
Renate Sommer, MEP (Germany, CDU/CSU)
Patrizia Toia, MEP (Italy, Partito Democratico)
Stefano Maullu, MEP (Italy, Fratelli d’Italia, chair of the Brands Matter Working Group)
Salvatore Cicu, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Angelo Ciocca, MEP (Italy, Lega)
Jiri Payne, MEP (Czech Republic, Strana svobodných občan)
Amjad Bashir, MEP (United Kingdom, The Conservative Party)
Fulvio Martusciello, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Daniel Dalton, MEP (United Kingdom, The Conservative Party)
Joachim Starbatty, MEP (Germany, LKR)
Hans-Olaf Henkel, MEP (Germany, LKR)
Massimiliano Salini, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Paul Rübig, MEP (Austria, Österreichische Volkspartei)
Daniel Hannan, MEP (United Kingdom, The Conservative Party)
Nathan Gill, MEP (United Kingdom, UKIP)
Robert Iwaskiewicz, MEP (Poland, Nowa Prawica)
Seán Kelly, MEP (Ireland, Fine Gael)
Raffaele Fitto, MEP (Italy, Fratelli D’Italia, vice-chair of the ECR)
Alberto Cirio, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Christophe Hansen, MEP (EPP, Luxembourg)
Frank Engel, MEP (EPP, Luxembourg)
Georges Bach, MEP (EPP, Luxembourg)
Christofer Fjellner, MEP (EPP, Sweden)
Rays Fernando, MEP (EPP, Portugal)
The CCC and the signatories of this pledge want to put forward legislative action to protect brands in the European Union, and oppose legislation that reduces the right to freely brand products or market them through advertising. We will work hard to extend the number of parliamentarians who sign this pledge during the upcoming legislature.

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.

Broad Coalition calls on Congress to reclaim its authority on tariffs

Arlington, VA – A coalition of 30 organizations, including the Consumer Choice Center, led by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce released a letter today encouraging lawmakers to reclaim their tariff authority, which has been delegated to the executive branch.
Read the letter HERE
In the letter, the groups write:
“As the Senate Finance Committee begins its important work of considering legislation related to tariffs, we write to urge you to include important priorities in any proposal put forth by the Committee.
“Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides Congress with ‘the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises.’ Over the years, however, some authority related to tariffs has been delegated to the executive branch. As a result, the president has unilaterally imposed tariffs – which are taxes on Americans – on more than $300 billion in imports last year without the explicit approval of the peoples’ elected representatives in Congress.
“Congress now has an opportunity to reclaim some of this tariff authority, with the Senate Finance Committee leading the way. … As the committee continues to review and craft legislative proposals, we stand ready to assist and support you in this endeavor.”


Internal trade barriers Canada

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) is excited to announce that the CCC has been officially asked to participate in the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT). The CCC is one of 17 stakeholders participating in the RCT.
The RCT is a federal-provincial body created under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement to oversee the regulatory reconciliation process, eliminate trade barriers, and promote regulatory cooperation across Canada.
With that, we want to hear from members of the public regarding inter-provincial trade barriers. If you have examples of internal trade barriers, or regulatory burdens that limit trade between provinces, please let us know.
To get involved, simply email examples of trade barriers or regulatory burdens to our North American Affairs Manager David Clement at [email protected]

Dutch Plan for a European Air Passenger Levy is a Punch in the Face of European Consumers

February 8th, 2018 – Today the Dutch government released a paper suggesting an EU-wide passenger levy on flights. It suggests the next EU Commission should work on a Europe-wide tax on commercial flights.

Fred Roeder, Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), is alarmed by this move limiting passenger choice and burdening consumers from all over the EU with a new tax. 

“The Netherlands seem to flip-flop on whether consumers should be burdened with a passenger departure tax or not. They used to tax passengers, got rid of the tax, and now plan to reintroduce one again. Learning from the effects of having a passenger tax while neighbouring countries don’t have one, the Dutch government must have come to the conclusion that all European passengers should be burdened with this tax. Thus Dutch passengers would not be able to cheaper and levy-free flights in Belgium or Luxembourg,” said Roeder.

“This shows that Dutch policymakers are aware that this is a bad policy and hurts passengers. No Eastern European EU Member State has such a tax yet. Introducing it would especially hurt the mobility of economic commuters and young Europeans travelling from Eastern Europe to the rest of the continent. “Right now we see a concentration of a few carriers in the market, foreign carriers aren’t allowed to offer inner-European routes due to cabotage rules, and at the same time, policymakers want to squeeze out more money from passengers. Instead of burdening European air passengers with more taxes we should rather open up European skies to further competition from the world,” concluded Roeder. 

Contact:
Fred Roeder
Managing DirectorConsumer Choice Center
[email protected]

***CCC Managing Director Fred Roeder 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.

Read original press release here: https://consumerchoicecenter.org/statements/#/publication/5c5dc5f5ee172800049a7ca8/5aa837df2542970e001981f6?&sh=false

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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.

A ‘Green New Deal’ Represents a Future Without Consumer Choice

A ‘Green New Deal’ Represents a Future Without Consumer Choice

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Democratic lawmakers in Congress have unveiled the outline of a number of policies they’ve dubbed as the “Green New Deal”. The Green New Deal is a series of legislative proposals that will focus on massively transforming society in hopes of achieving a future with “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said that the Green New Deal “offers Americans a frightening future where there is no consumer choice.”

“This outline of a Green New Deal is probably one of the most extreme attacks on consumer choice that could be conceived of in written form,” said Ossowski. “We all agree with mitigating climate change is a noble and important goal, but centrally remaking the American economy and depriving millions of their ability to choose the goods and services they rely on is unfair.

“Not only does the plan enforce mandates that will likely bankrupt a host of industries and severely reduce output, but it also proposes to massively expand governmental control of which goods and services are offered to consumers, and in what form. If the goals of the outline are achieved, they will effectively eliminate the capacity of consumers to choose what type of fuels, products, food, or vehicles they can buy, and likely much more.

“Planning to eliminate vehicles that run on internal combustion engines within ten years and doing away with air travel in favor of high-speed rail is an antiquated vision that, if enforced with federal laws, would likely delay any meaningful innovations in alternative energy that consumers would otherwise be supporting in the marketplace,” said Ossowski.

“Requiring every building in America be retrofitted to an impossible environmental standard will rob consumers of the choice to determine how, within current zoning rules, they can build or maintain their properties. Unreasonable emission restrictions on small farms will likely make it impossible to maintain current levels of food production, thus depriving consumers of the thousands of food items they rely on.

“Much like the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs the ‘New Green Deal’ proposes to offer every American, we hope this proposal is shoveled as quickly as possible where it belongs: in the past,” said Ossowski.

***CCC Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski 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.

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. 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 and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received 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.

FDA’s menthol ban and vaping restrictions will have consequences

CONTACT:
Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

FDA’s menthol ban and vaping restrictions will have consequences

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced severe sales and flavor restrictions on vaping products and introduced a new ban on menthol flavors in combustible tobacco products.

Reacting to the news, Consumer Choice Center senior fellow Jeff Stier said the plan is riddled with flaws.

“Banning menthol cigarettes will lead to increased youth smoking, especially in minority communities, where a ban would spark illegal markets reminiscent of the days of alcohol prohibition,” said Stier.

Writing in USA Today, he pointed out that various civil rights and police organizations have come out united against the policy, stating that is is both discriminatory toward minority communities and would eat up precious time and resources for police officers.

“When Congress gave the FDA authority to regulate recreational lower-risk nicotine products, it was with the expectation that the FDA would be able to both discourage youth use and help adults quit smoking. Sadly, to date, the FDA has accomplished little on either front,” said Stier.

“These failures don’t justify a misplaced “crackdown” on e-cigarettes and responsible sellers. They require an aggressive effort to stop the bad actors. Accomplishing that now will require a new FDA policy. And clearly, a new commissioner,” he added.

“The FDA should instead concentrate on two primary goals: Enforce already-existing rules that ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and, as recommended by the American Cancer Society, support adult smokers who attempt to quit with e-cigarettes.”

***CCC Senior Fellow Jeff Stier 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.

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.

Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts.

Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Consumer Choice Center Positionspapier zu Diesel – Verboten

Das Consumer Choice Center verfolgt mit Sorge die Entwicklung von Diesel-Verboten in ganz Deutschland. Viel zu oft werden die Debatten mit zu viel Aufregung und falschen Informationen geführt, was schlussendlich nicht nur zu weniger Wahlfreiheit der Verbraucher führt, sondern auch zu weniger Umwelt- und Gesundheitsschutz.

Dieselfahrzeuge sind in den vergangenen Monaten nach dem Abgasskandal bei Volkswagen unter Beschuss geraten. Der deutsche Automobilhersteller hatte seinen TDIMotoren bewusst manipuliert, um die Abgasprüfungen in den USA zu bestehen, während die Autos in Wirklichkeit über den gesetzlich festgelegten Grenzwerte lagen. Weit über die Praktiken von Volkswagen hinaus haben es vermeintliche Umweltschützer nun ganz allgemein auf den Diesel abgesehen. Ihre Behauptung: Zehntausende Menschen sterben jedes Jahr an der von Diesel verursachten Umweltverschmutzung.

Der ehemalige Präsident der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Pneumologie, Dr. Dieter Köhler, widerspricht diesen Aktivisten und sieht nur eine geringe gesundheitsgefährdende Rolle bei Feinstaub und Stickoxiden. Viele Studien würden Fehlinterpretationen darstellen, und die Kosten für das Verbot von Dieselfahrzeugen würden in keinem angemessenen Verhältnis zu den Gesundheitsgefahren stehen.

Es ist des Weiteren auch eine merkwürdige Art, Umweltpolitik zu betreiben. Nachdem Volkswagen sein Fehlverhalten eingestanden hat, sollten wir nicht einfach die Gesetze anwenden die bisher galten? Es scheint, als ob diese “Befürworter der öffentlichen Gesundheit” opportunistisch auf den Emissionsskandal aufspringen, um ihre politischen Ziele zu erreichen. Dass die Deutsche Umwelthilfe, einer der Lobby-Gruppen die für dieses Verbot werben, seit 20 Jahren von Toyota mitfinanziert wird, gibt der Sache einen schlechten Nachgeschmack; besonders da Toyota vor allem Benziner oder Hybrid-Autos verkauft.

“Heutige Dieselfahrzeuge sind sauberer, leiser und arbeiten auf Augenhöhe oder besser als Benzinmotoren. Die Verbesserungen ergeben sich aus der Verfügbarkeit saubererer Kraftstoffe und dem Einsatz fortschrittlicher Technologien, einschließlich elektronischer Steuerungen, Common-Rail-Kraftstoffeinspritzung, Turboaufladung, Schalldämmung und Komponenten zur Abgasreduzierung.” Das schreibt die kanadische Regierung.

Diesel ist entscheidend für die Reduzierung von CO2-Emissionen – Dieselautos stoßen im Durchschnitt 20% weniger CO2 aus als Benzinäquivalente. Seit 2002 haben Dieselautos 3,5 Millionen Tonnen CO2 eingespart.

Wir müssen verstehen, dass, wenn Umweltaktivisten “Dieselverbot” sagen, ihr eigentliches Ziel es auf lange Sicht ist, alle Fahrzeuge zu verbieten, die mit fossilen Brennstoffen fahren, ungeachtet der wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Konsequenzen, die damit verbunden sind. In Frankreich hat die Regierung genau das bereits entschieden. Der Kostenpunkt für Verbraucher, besonders die mit niedrigem Einkommen, bleibt dabei weiter unklar. Es wird Zeit, dass die Politik aufhört sich illusorischen Ideen hinzugeben, die nur durch autoritäre Maßnahmen durchgesetzt werden können.

 

The EU’s plastics strategy should advise on actual effectiveness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
Bill Wirtz
Policy Analyst
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

The EU’s plastics strategy should advise on actual effectiveness

Brussels, BE – The European Parliament’s environment committee approved a report on the Commission’s proposal to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastic goods. This would now also ban plastic bags, products made of oxodegradable plastics, and takeaway boxes and cups made of styrofoam.

Bill Wirtz, Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) says that EU lawmakers should check for the effectiveness of this policy in the effort to prevent pollution. “If you don’t compare environmental impact of different bags in accordance with reuse rate, you’re not actually engaging in informed public policy-making,” said Wirtz.

“In 2011, the UK’s Environment Agency published an earlier-drafted life cycle assessment of supermarket carrier bags. Their findings are crucial. Despite the rates of environmental impact of alternative bags being comparatively lower than conventional bags, people just don’t reuse them enough for it to even break even with the single-use plastic bag.

“The example on styrofoam – expanded polystyrene (EPS) – is similar: some people could claim that they do not care for the jobs lost and the increased consumer prices, because ultimately, these bans will be good for the environment. Here again, the evidence is not there. When we compare polystyrene foam to paper cups, we find that paper uses more petroleum, more steam, more electric power, more cooling water, more wastewater, and more mass to landfill.

“We should not only judge policies by their intentions, but by their actual effects”, said Wirtz.

***CCC’s Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz 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.

Jeff Stier’s ‘recipe for a better world’

Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow of the Consumer Choice Center, will today call on the private sector and the public health community to innovate their way towards a better world.

Speaking at the annual industry conference, the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum, in London, the innovation and harm reduction advocate will call on companies to follow the example set by Impossible Foods, the US makers of The Impossible Burger

Stier will point out that Impossible Foods founder, Dr. Patrick Brown, recognized in 2009 that the academic and regulatory approach to harm reduction wasn’t working, and that his response to that was to raise the necessary investment, recruit experts, and spend the next five years developing The Impossible Burger. Through innovation Impossible Foods have recreated the taste, look, sizzle, texture, and smell of a traditional beef burger, which even “bleeds” like one, but is made with plants-based products, and no animal products.

Stier will tell delegates that the “Recipe for a Better World” is to follow the example of the Impossible Burger by innovating in the same way to reduce the harmful impact that products such as combustible tobacco can have on people:

  • Whereas The Impossible Burger uses leghemoglobin to replicate the taste of a traditional burger, Stier will say that tobacco and nicotine companies should continue to innovate in the same way to develop a product that replicates the same sensations of cigarettes until every last smoker is satisfied with a reduced -risk product.

He will add that innovation should replace regulation as the primary method of reducing harm, as it has proven far more effective than any intervention by State regulators in changing the behavior of consumers:

  • The rise in e-cigarettes over the past five years is proof that innovation works, while the introduction of TPDII by EU regulators is being blamed for the slower growth in products replacing cigarettes;
  • Regulators should instead follow the example set by the FDA in the US which acknowledged that leghemoglobin contained in The Impossible Burger was generally recognized as safe, instead of rushing to overregulate or ban it.

SPEECH AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS

Jeff Stier will speak at 14.20 UK time today at the Rosewood Hotel. If you wish to interview Jeff Stier we will do everything we can to accommodate you. Please either submit your request for interview by email ([email protected] / [email protected]) or WhatsApp on +44(0)7757 719 948 / +44(0)7909 036 011.

 

The Consumer Choice Center nominates INNCO for the 2018 EU Health Award

CONTACT:

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]rg

Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

The Consumer Choice Center nominates INNCO for the 2018 EU Health Award

The Consumer Choice Center welcomes DG SANTE’s decision to focus the 2018 EU Health Award for NGOs around the criteria to prevent tobacco use among young Europeans.

CCC Deputy Director Yael Ossowski said INNCO, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations, is most deserving of the prize.

“The emergence of innovative and harm reducing technologies such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products allows consumers to switch from traditional cigarettes to these new products that are according to the Royal College of Physicians up to 95% less harmful than legacy tobacco products.

“Many of these innovative products are even tobacco-free and are able to deliver nicotine without any tobacco consumption. It represents yet another instance of innovation and technology delivering a solution to the problem of tobacco addiction,” said Ossowski.

A civic movement for choice

While many regulators still have a hard time understanding the massive benefits of harm reducing tobacco and nicotine intake, some civil society organizations and million of vapers around the world remain committed to advocating for allowing harm reduction to happen in the market place.

In order to acknowledge these often boot-strapped efforts of the harm reduction community, the Consumer Choice Center nominates INNCO for the 2018 EU Health Award.

CCC’s Senior Fellow Jeff Stier, who recently testified on harm reduction at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adds: “INNCO has been spearheading the European debate on harm reduction for years. Their members realized early on that allowing harm reduction can save millions of lives.”

Harm reduction knows no borders

Stier continues: “While INNCO does not meet the formal criteria as it is based in Switzerland and not the EU, we still think that it is deserving of the prize. We need a  stronger dialogue on the benefits of harm reduction.

“The instinct of many tobacco control activists to demonize everything that contains tobacco or nicotine, even if they are alternative proven to be healthier, is bad for public health. While public health officials in the UK seem to lead the way to sound harm reduction, smokers in countries that ban the promotion of these new technologies are not even aware that there are safer methods of consuming nicotine.

“Awarding INNCO and other harm reduction groups with the EU Health Award would demonstrate that DG SANTE actually cares about smokers and does not want to fight an ideological war against tobacco and nicotine,” said Stier.

 ***CCC Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski and Senior Fellow Jeff Stier are 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.