Public Responses

CONSUMER CHOICE CENTER CONSULTATION RESPONSES:

[UK] POST IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW OF TOBACCO LEGISLATION

These regulations apply to the display of tobacco products in small and large shops (display ban) and came into force on 6 April 2012 in larger shops and 6 April 2015 for all other outlets. The regulations prohibit the display of tobacco products in small and large shops, allowing trading to continue but preventing them from being used as promotional tools. All retailers are required to cover up cigarettes and hide all tobacco products from public view.

The full Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010 are published on Legislation.gov.uk

1. Do you think the display ban of tobacco in small and large shops has helped to reduce the number of children and young people smoking?

Answer: I don’t know if it has or not.

Current scientific evidence points to the fact that smoking susceptibility amongst young people has dropped following the introduction of the display ban on tobacco in small and large shops. 

 

A decrease in smoking susceptibility does not necessarily equate to a decline in smoking rates, since this decrease also correlates with a number of other factors, on both the regulatory and the educational side, as well as innovations such as harm-reducing products. A negative side-effect of a display ban can be that smoking is perceived as an ominous and secretive act, which encourages certain youth to pick it up. In a comparable fashion, illicit narcotic substances are also purchased in large numbers by youths, without any advertising or display. We know through evidence in countries that have legalised or decriminalised these substances (particularly in the case of cannabis) that youth consumption rates normalise as the handling of the substance reaches social acceptance.

 

It would be ill-advised for the government to recreate the bad side-effects of prohibition in the case of tobacco. 

 

2. Do you think the tobacco display ban has encouraged and supported adult smokers to quit?

 

Answer: I don’t know if it has or not.

 

Scientific evidence presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) points to the example of New Zealand, where a display ban coincided with a decrease in smoking prevalence from 9% to 7%.

 

Correlation does not mean causation. The measure also has overlap with both the regulatory and educational measures, as well as innovations such as harm-reducing products. Further scientific research in the United Kingdom would be necessary to determine whether a decline in adult smoking cessation can be related to display bans.

 

3. What impact do you think the display ban has had on:

 

(a) general population

(b) retailers

(c) manufacturers

(d) other stakeholders

 

For consumers, the implementation of a display ban reduces the amount of information available for tobacco. Cigarettes are a legal product in the United Kingdom, yet consumers are now unable to identify differences between brands and are unexposed to new upcoming products. Added to that, a display ban creates uncertainty on the legal market, as the practice of selling cigarettes “under the counter” is equally present in the case of retailers engaging in the sales of illicit cigarettes.

Some of our members have reported to us to have received counterfeit products when purchasing cigarettes in UK corner stores. The display ban might make it easier for vendors of counterfeit cigarettes to hide their illicit products from consumers and law enforcement until the moment of sale.

 

4. Is the display ban an effective way to protect children and young people from taking up smoking and supporting those who wish to quit?

 

Answer: No, I don’t think it is.

 

Given the insufficient amount of evidence on the question of effectiveness and the clear risks that the Consumer Choice Center has listed in an answer on the impact of the display ban, we do not believe that the measures constitute an effective way to protect children and young people from taking up smoking and supporting those who wish to quit.

 

We believe that harm-reducing products such as e-cigarettes represent an innovative way towards smoking cessation. The UK’s permissive approach to e-cigarettes has shown a positive impact. According to the NHS, between 2011 and 2017, the number of UK smokers fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking.

 

5. Were there any economic losses or gains (for individuals, businesses and wider society) associated with implementing the display ban on tobacco products?

 

Answer: Yes, I think there were some economic losses or gains.

 

With a loss in brand awareness and the creation of consumer uncertainty on the legal market, the Consumer Choice Center believes that a loss in consumer choice has been created by the display ban. We also think that this has fuelled the shadow economy and allowed vendors with bad intentions to sell more illegal cigarettes to consumers.

 

 

These regulations apply to the display of tobacco products in Specialist Tobacconists and came into force on 6th April 2015.

These regulations provide exemptions for specialist tobacconists to the general prohibition of the display of tobacco products. They allow tobacco products to be displayed within specialist tobacconists as long as they are not visible from outside the shops. Additionally, the legislation permits tobacco advertising provided it is in, or fixed to the outside of premises of a specialist tobacconist and complies with prescribed conditions.

The full Tobacco and Advertising (Specialist Tobacconists) (England) Regulations 2010 are published on Legilsation.gov.uk.

1. Do you think the display ban of tobacco in specialist tobacconists has helped to reduce the number of children and young people smoking?

Answer: I don’t know if it has or has not.

 

Current scientific evidence has analysed the situation in regular commercial establishments. The purpose of a specialist tobacconist shop is to sell tobacco, with other items for sale being proportionally secondary. Evidence would need to be gathered in order to make concrete statements on the effect of the display ban in this instance.

 

2. Do you think the display ban in specialist tobacconists has encouraged and supported adult smokers to quit?

 

Answer: I don’t know if it has or has not.

 

Current scientific evidence has analysed the situation in regular commercial establishments. The purpose of a specialist tobacconist shop is to sell tobacco, with other items for sale being proportionally secondary. Evidence would need to be gathered in order to make concrete statements on the effect of the display ban in this instance.

 

3. Has the display ban within specialist tobacconists had any further impacts not covered in the questions above?

 

Answer: I don’t know if it has or has not.

 

Provided the exemptions in the current law surrounding display bans, the case of specialist tobacconists is different from regular retailers and needs to be examined separately.

 

4. Is the display ban in specialist tobacconists an effective way to protect children and young people from taking up smoking and supporting those who wish to quit?

 

Answer: I don’t know whether it is or it is not effective.

 

Provided the exemptions in the current law surrounding display bans, the case of specialist tobacconists is different from regular retailers and needs to be examined separately.

We believe that harm-reducing products such as e-cigarettes represent an innovative way towards smoking cessation. The UK’s permissive approach to e-cigarettes has shown a positive impact. According to the NHS, between 2011 and 2017, the number of UK smokers fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking.

 

5. Were there any economic losses or gains (for individuals, businesses and wider society) associated with carrying out this regulation in the community?

 

Answer: I don’t know if there were or not economic losses or gains.

 

Given the insufficient amount of evidence on the question of effectiveness, and the clear risks that the Consumer Choice Center has listed in an answer on the impact of the display ban, we do not believe that the measures constitute an effective way to protect children and young people from taking up smoking and supporting those who wish to quit.

 

We believe that harm-reducing products such as e-cigarettes represent an innovative way towards smoking cessation. The UK’s permissive approach to e-cigarettes has shown a positive impact. According to the NHS, between 2011 and 2017, the number of UK smokers fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking

These regulations impose requirements on the display of prices of tobacco products in small and large shops and came into force on 6th April 2015.

The regulations permit only three types of tobacco price displays within retailers:

  1. Poster style lists (up to A3 in size) which can be permanently on show but must not exceed 1,250sq centimetres in size
  2. A list including pictures of products, which must not be left on permanent show, but can be shown to any customer aged 18 or over who asks for information on tobacco products sold; and
  3. Price labels, which can be placed on shelving, storage units or tobacco jars. One price label is permitted for each product either on the covered shelf where the product is stored or on the front of the storage unit.

The full Tobacco and Advertising (Display of Prices) (England) Regulations 2010 are published on Legislation.gov.uk

1. Have the restrictions on the display of prices of tobacco products helped reduce the number of children and young people smoking?

 

Answer: I don’t know if they have or have not.

 

Current scientific evidence on this matter is scarce. Existing evidence suggests that price display bans can reduce smoking prevalence. However, the same research also suggests that price policies need to be accompanied by certain minimum price rules. Therefore, the immediate effectiveness of price display bans in themselves are questionable and cannot be proven with existing evidence.

 

2. Have the restrictions on the display of prices of tobacco products helped encourage and support adult smokers to quit?

 

Answer: I don’t know if they have or have not.

 

Current scientific evidence on this matter is scarce. Existing evidence suggests that price display bans can reduce smoking prevalence. However, the same research also suggests that price policies need to be accompanied by certain minimum price rules. Therefore, the immediate effectiveness of price display bans in themselves are questionable and cannot be proven with existing evidence.

 

3. What impact do you think the restriction of display of prices of tobacco products has had on the following:

 

(a) general population

(b) retailers

(c) manufacturers

(d) other stakeholders (please specify)

Please give reason(s) and evidence for your answers.

Restricting price indications at retail deprives consumers of information about tobacco, a product which can be purchased legally with some restrictions in the United Kingdom. Consumers are vulnerable to be misled by retailers about the product they are buying, and are not afforded the necessary transparency to make an informed purchase.

 

4. Is restricting the display of prices of tobacco products an effective way to protect children and young people from taking up smoking and support those who wish to quit?

 

Answer: I don’t know if it is or is not effective.

 

Current scientific evidence on this matter is scarce. Existing evidence suggests that price display bans can reduce smoking prevalence. However, the same research also suggests that price policies need to be accompanied by certain minimum price rules. Therefore, the immediate effectiveness of price display bans in themselves are questionable and cannot be proven with existing evidence.

We believe that harm-reducing products such as e-cigarettes represent an innovative way towards smoking cessation. The UK’s permissive approach to e-cigarettes has shown a positive impact. According to the NHS, between 2011 and 2017, the number of UK smokers fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking.

 

5. Were there any economic losses or gains (for individuals, businesses and wider society) associated with carrying out this regulation in the community?

 

Answer: I don’t know if there were economic losses or gains.

 

Restricting price indications at retail deprives consumers of information about tobacco, a product which can be purchased legally with some restrictions in the United Kingdom. Consumers are vulnerable to be misled by retailers about the product they are buying, and are not afforded the necessary transparency to make an informed purchase.

The regulations came into force as of 1st October 2015 and apply in England. Regulation 5; penalties and discounted amount also applies in Wales.  These regulations make it an offence for:

  • A person to smoke in a private vehicle when someone under the age of 18 is present
  •  A driver not to stop a person smoking when someone under the age of 18 is present.

The regulations are thought to have minimal impact in business. Police Authorities are the designated enforcement offices, with the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) to anyone found to be non-compliant with the law.

The full Smoke-free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015 are published on Legislation.gov.uk.

1. Have the Smoke-free (Private Vehicles) Regulations helped prevent people from smoking in vehicles with children?

Answer: No, I don’t think they have.

There is no sufficient amount of evidence in England that would allow for a thorough conclusion on this matter. Existing evidence from Portugal showed that despite widespread support for the regulation, “high smoking prevalence and poor enforcement contribute to low compliance”.

 

2. What impact do you think Smoke free (Private Vehicles) Regulations have had on: general public, retailers, manufacturers, other stakeholders (please specify)

The Consumer Choice Center believes that though the intent of the legislation is commendable, the costs involved with enforcing the measure thoroughly far exceed the benefits. Law enforcement work on lifestyle matters should be focused on preventing sales of tobacco to young people, and combating illicit trade.

3. Do you believe prohibiting smoking in private vehicles is an effective way to protect children and young people from harms of tobacco and second-hand smoke?

Answer: I don’t know if it is or if is not.

There is no sufficient amount of evidence in England that would allow for a thorough conclusion on this matter. The question is not whether smoking in private vehicles is unhealthy to children and young people from a health perspective, but whether legislation is the correct approach to solving this issue. A prohibition on this matter can also lead to complicated law enforcement situations. A family car that smells of tobacco because the parent smoked in the vehicle prior to picking up children could offset a fine, even though the driver did not break the law.

We believe that education through the schooling system is the correct way to pursue public health objectives.

4. Were there any economic losses or gains (for individuals, businesses and wider society) associated with carrying out this regulation in the community?

Answer: I don’t know if there were economic losses or gains.

There is no sufficient amount of evidence in England that would allow for a thorough conclusion on this matter. Existing evidence from Portugal showed that despite widespread support for the regulation, “high smoking prevalence and poor enforcement contribute to low compliance”.

Increased law enforcement in this area would increase costs for taxpayers.

[UK] ADVANCING OUR HEALTH: PREVENTION IN THE 2020s

We believe that innovate harm-reducing alternatives can not only help people reduce harmful exposure, and even help them quit smoking regular tobacco, but also achieve that goal without the need for government funds. 

The UK’s permissive approach to e-cigarettes has shown a positive impact. According to the NHS, between 2011 and 2017, the number of UK smokers fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking. Public Health England has confirmed that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than conventional cigarettes. Therefore, consumers should be afforded the choice of vaping. 

We also do not believe that an aggressive approach to the matter will help with smoking cessation. Strict anti-tobacco measures have shown to be regressive, and tend to push and seal consumers in the black market for a long time. Smoking cessation is a difficult task, that can be achieved through harm reducing alternatives, such as e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products, or snus (which is illegal in the European Union, except for Sweden). 

While breastfeeding is commendable, as it might advance the physical well-being of the child, it should be noted that not all mothers are able to provide the necessary quantity. This can lead to dehydration of the infant, leading to serious medical conditions. For those mothers, infant formula is a necessary alternative. We therefore support the continued zero-rating for VAT on baby milk.

Furthermore, the CCC supports the continuation of the Equality Act 2010, which allows mothers to breastfeed in all public places.

However, breastfeeding remains an individual choice of the mother, and can and should not be imposed. This is an intimate choice to be made by a mother, in which law-makers should not have a say.

It remains a continuous challenge to improve the nutrition of young children. This responsibility lies with the parents, you serve the function of caretakers and educators. In the age range of 0 to 5, this responsibility is most pronounced, and should be taken seriously. The Consumer Choice Center believes that parents have a moral obligation to inform themselves about healthy nutrition for their children. However, the reversal of the food pyramid has shown that institutionalised nutritional guidance can lead to adverse effects. The Harvard School of Public Health has pointed out that the food pyramid “conveyed the wrong dietary advice”. It also says: “With an overstuffed breadbasket as its base, the Food Guide Pyramid failed to show that whole wheat, brown rice, and other whole grains are healthier than refined grains.” The CCC is therefore sceptical about the idea of government-advised diets for children.

The obligation of parents to make informed choices about the nutrition of their children does not end at the age of 5. Quite on the contrary, as children get to the age of being able to be active in sports, they need to be encouraged to do so.

In October last year, Public Health England indicated that more than 37 percent of 10 and 11 year-olds in London are overweight or obese. It is often mistakenly argued, for this age, that this is caused by high energy intake, but the obesity rates are dependent on the physical activity, which according to Public Health England has decreased by 24 per cent since the 1960s. Daily calorie intake in the UK is also decreasing each decade.

Furthermore, the government should look towards relieving regulatory measures that increase the price of healthy foods.

It is often mistakenly argued that the obesity crisis is caused by high energy intake, but the obesity rates are dependent on the physical activity, which according to Public Health England has decreased by 24 per cent since the 1960s. Daily calorie intake in the UK is also decreasing each decade.

Physical activity is therefore paramount. Local government should foster and encourage the creation of outdoor fitness places, and facilitate the creation of interesting and safe public walkways, which can be used for physical exercise. The CCC also believes that community sports programmes should be a part of the government strategy on tackling obesity.

Physical activity is paramount. Local government should foster and encourage the creation of outdoor fitness places, and facilitate the creation of interesting and safe public walkways, which can be used for physical exercise. The CCC also believes that community sports programmes should be a part of the government strategy on tackling obesity.

As of now, the UK applies a VAT rate of 5% on condoms. The Consumer Choice Center supports an exemption of these products from VAT. Condoms are not luxury sanitary products — they are essentially for advancing sexual and reproductive health, and guarantees the choice of consumers.

[EU] Evaluation of marketing standards [Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013]

17. Are you familiar with any EU marketing standards in any of the following product sectors? (CCC Responses are in Green)

×Olive oil and table olives×Poultry meat Coffee and chicory extracts
 Fruit and vegetables Spreadable fats Cocoa and chocolate products
 Processed fruit and vegetable products Hops Fruit jams, jellies and marmalades
 Bananas×Beef and veal Fruit juices
 Live plants Wine Honey
 Eggs Milk and milk products None of the above

18. In your opinion, to what extent have the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, contributed to supplying the market with products of a standardised and satisfactory quality ?

 

Very strong positive contribution

 

Moderate negative contribution

 

Strong positive contribution

 

Strong negative contribution

 

Moderate positive contribution

 

Very strong negative contribution

×

Had no effect

 

No opinion

19. In your opinion, to what extent have the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, contributed to improving the conditions for production and marketing and creating a level-playing field in these sectors ?

 

Very strong positive contribution

 

Moderate negative contribution

 

Strong positive contribution

 

Strong negative contribution

×

Moderate positive contribution

 

Very strong negative contribution

 

Had no effect

 

No opinion

20. In your opinion, to what extent have the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, contributed to providing adequate and transparent information to consumers ?

 

Very strong positive contribution

 

Moderate negative contribution

 

Strong positive contribution

 

Strong negative contribution

 

Moderate positive contribution

 

Very strong negative contribution

×

Had no effect

 

No opinion

21. In your opinion, to what extent have the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, contributed to providing the purchaser with value for money ?

 

Very good value for money

 

Good value for money

×

Limited value for money

 

No value for money

 

No opinion

22. In your opinion, to what extent could efficiency be improved by harmonising the control and reporting requirements of the different marketing standards ?

 

Very strong potential for improvement

 

Strong potential for improvement

 

Moderate potential for improvement

×

No potential for improvement

 

No opinion

23. In your opinion, what could be simplified, and how, in order to improve the management and implementation of the EU marketing standards ?

Authorities should gather specific data on consumer consultation of marketing information, in order to identify consumer priorities. It is not sensible to increase compliance costs (resulting in higher consumer prices) for information that consumers are not interested in to begin with. The CCC also believes that new technologies already offer non-regulatory information carriers (through mobile applications and barcodes) that need to be considered as a substitute mechanism.

24. In your opinion, to what extent are the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, consistent to other EU policy interventions in these sectors?

 

Very strongly consistent

Strongly consistent

Moderately consistent

Not consistent

No opinion

EU rules on food safety

   

X

 

Food information to consumers

   

X

 

Geographical indications

 

X

   

Organic products

   

X

 

Please specify:

On organic products: EU organic product labelling does not address the potential health implications of pesticide use in organic farming.

25. In your opinion, to what extent are the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, consistent with international marketing standards and with private marketing standards?

 

Very strongly consistent

Strongly consistent

Moderately consistent

Not consistent

No opinion

International marketing standards – Codex Alimentarius (CODEX)

    

X

International marketing standards – United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

    

X

Private marketing standards

    

X

26. In your opinion, has the implementation of the EU marketing standards caused any unexpected or unintended effects in terms of food waste ?

 

Yes

 

No

×

No opinion

27. In your opinion, has the implementation of the EU marketing standards caused any unexpected or unintended effects in terms of animal welfare ?

 

Yes

 

No

×

No opinion

28. In your opinion, has the implementation of the EU marketing standards caused any potential of abuse by market actors ?

×

Yes

 

No

 

No opinion

29. In your opinion, to what extent do the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, fit with the needs of the supply chain in these sectors (i.e. producers, processors, traders, retailers) ?

 

Fit very well

 

Fit well

 

Fit moderately well

 

Did not fit

×

No opinion

30. In your opinion, to what extent do the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, fit with the needs of consumers ?

 

Fit very well

 

Fit well

 

Fit moderately well

×

Did not fit

 

No opinion

31. In your opinion, to what extent do the EU marketing standards, in the product sectors you are familiar with, fit with the needs of Member States administrations ?

 

Fit very well

 

Fit well

 

Fit moderately well

 

Did not fit

×

No opinion

32. In your opinion, what are the most essential benefits of the EU marketing standards that cannot be achieved by the Member States/sectors acting on their own ?

N/A

33. Do you have any suggestions on how EU marketing standards could further improve product quality and production/marketing conditions in these sectors ?

N/A

34. In your opinion, has the implementation of the EU marketing standards caused any unexpected or unintended effects in regard to the sustainability of the food chain ?

 

Yes

 

No

×

No opinion

35. Please feel free to upload a concise document, such as a position paper. The maximum file size is 1MB.

Please note that the uploaded document will be published alongside your response to the questionnaire which is the essential input to this public consultation. The document is optional and serves as additional background reading to better understand your position. 

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) is an advocacy group standing up for the rights of consumers who want to make their own choices on a free and fair market. While product information and oversight is key, regulators need not overburden the regulatory framework with too many well-intended rules. It so happens that compliance costs in the field of fast-moving consumer goods are paid by consumers, acting as a tax on the consumption of ordinary people. 

Therefore the Consumer Choice Center encourages opposes “better regulation” to “more regulation”, in a spirit of streamlining the process of compliance. While market access regulations should be harmonised and permissive, product information should be adapted to local needs. A product being “made in Italy” is not helpful for an Italian consumer seeking Southern Italian products – particularly since producer addresses do not necessarily reflect the lieu of production. In this example, Italy should have the possibility to establish more than just country of origin, but even region of origin. In a comparable application of the same principle, countries wishing to keep up with agro-tech innovations (that have been proven to be safe for consumption by national authorities), should never need to require labelling of products that do not need labelling for public health concerns, since it would needlessly stigmatise certain products and mislead consumers. The CCC therefore opposes strict horizontal regulation of marketing standards across all sectors, and draws attention to the fact that paragraph 70 – which stipulates that consumers being misled “as a result of their expectations and perceptions” – opens the door with arbitrary interpretations of what those expectations and perceptions are. Labelling requirements — as for instance suggested for harmonisation in paragraph 104 for wine — do not respect regional priorities on the matter, and should be left to national authorities.

Furthermore, we also believe that Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 creates market interventions that can lead to price distortions, for example through state aid on private storage (paragraphs 10, 17, 18, 21), quantitative limitations and price fixing (paragraphs 5, 11, 14), or purchase terms (in the case of sugar) (paragraph 118).

The CCC supports the Commission’s effort to support educational facilities with fruits and vegetables, with the aim of diversifying diets and making them more healthy (paragraphs 24, 25, 26, 27). Adding to that, we would like to add that physical exercise programmes have proven to be more efficient than radical dietary changes, so efforts need to be coordinated with other educational programmes, in order to achieve the desired goals

The Consumer Choice Center declares its interest as a stakeholder to take part in further consultations and is happy to contribute to studies undertaken. We agree to the publication of these statements.

[EU] OPC: Ex post evaluation of the impact of the trade chapters of the EU's Association Agreements with six EuroMed countries

The aim of this public consultation is to collect information, views and opinions on the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and relevance of the EU-Mediterranean Association Agreements’ trade chapters with Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. The results of the consultation serve as input for the evaluation of the impacts of these Agreements, a project jointly conducted by Ecorys, CASE and FEMISE on behalf of the European Commission. For more background information on the project please consult the following website. The consultation will be open for 12 weeks.

Language of my contribution:

 Bulgarian Estonian Hungarian
 Croatian Finnish Italian
 Czech French Latvian
 Danish Gaelic Lithuanian
 Dutch German Polish
XEnglish Greek Portuguese

I am giving my contribution as:

 Academic/research institution Consumer organisation Non-EU citizen Trade union
 Business association EU citizenXNon-governmental organisation (NGO) Other
 Company/business organisation Environmental organisation Public authority  

Publication privacy settings:

 Anonymous
Only your type of respondent, country of origin and contribution will be published. All other personal details (name, organisation name and size,transparency register number) will not be published.
XPublic
Your personal details (name, organisation name and size, transparencyregister number, country of origin) will be published with your contribution.

1. Were you aware of an FTA between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean region prior to hearing about this evaluation?

Yes

2. To what extent do you believe that the FTAs have met the following objectives related to the bilateral relations between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean region?

 Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeNo opinion / do not know
The FTAs have promoted trade relations     X 
The FTAs have promoted fair competition    X 
The FTAs have expanded harmonious economic relations    X 
The FTAs have expanded harmonious social relations    X 
The FTAs have established the conditions necessary for the gradual liberalisation of trade in goods, services and capital    X 

3. Please provide an explanation of how the FTAs have led to this impact:

Trade is not zero-sum, it is an exchange from which consumers on both sides benefit hence why FTAs are so important. An increase in the supply of particular goods and/or services from abroad under FTAs boosts competition and thus leads to lower prices. On the other hand, trade protectionism gives an unfair advantage to domestic producers at the expense of consumers. FTAs should aim to create a fair and equitable environment in which domestic and foreign producers are encouraged to compete based on the value they have to offer to consumers. Additionally, FTAs tend to mitigate anti-foreign bias by building cooperation bridges between various nations. FTAs are about interstate cooperation, increased choice, and cheaper products.

4. To what extent do you believe the FTAs have met the following objectives related to regional cooperation?

 Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeNo opinion / do not know
The FTAs have increased trade and cooperation within the Southern Mediterranean region  X   
The FTAs have increased trade and cooperation between the region and the EU and it Member States   X  

5. Please provide an explanation of how the FTAs have led to this impact:

Despite the number of regional trade agreements, intra-regional trade in the Southern Mediterranean region is still poorly developed. The EU, as the largest trade partner of the region, has played an important role in encouraging the creation of the Southern Mediterranean free trade area. However, it is crucial that the region itself first makes a choice in favour of building stronger regional ties and then acts upon it keeping in mind all its economic, political and cultural particularities.

6. To what extent are the FTAs between the EU and Southern Mediterranean region coherent with the following policies? (Click on the name of the policy for more information.)

 IncoherentPartially CoherentFully CoherentNo opinion / do not know
European Neighbourhood Policy  X 
Association Agreements  X 
Action Plans  X 
Partnership Priorities  X 
Current EU Trade policy  X 

70. What are the most positive aspects of the FTAs between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean region?

The fact that the number of EU imports from the Southern Mediterranean region has been continuously growing since 2016 is definitely one of the key successes. Additionally, the FTAs have clearly fostered cooperation and international understanding between regions.

 

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