As a final implementing act of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, the European Commission has released three pieces of draft technical legislation on a track and trace system for tobacco products. The legislation provides details for how the system is to work in practice, and the proposed measures, which have so far shunned industry and expert concerns, are open for feedback until 2 October 2017.
ESTA is concerned that the Commission’s legislation is blind to the realities of the sector and of trade in general, and will prove to be unworkable for smaller firms. Due to the higher cost per product manufactured, smaller firms will struggle to survive, almost certainly leading to further industry consolidation. The badly judged and unnecessary requirements for exports alone will make it impossible for Europe-based companies to export to certain jurisdictions, which would destroy the viability of many smaller, export-led firms in the sector.
Commenting on the proposed acts, Peter van der Mark, Secretary General of ESTA, said: “ESTA is very disappointed by the Commission’s proposals, which are overly complex, impractical, and threaten to drive our SME and mid-sized member companies out of business for no apparent need or gain.”
He added that “rather than incorporating the feedback of experts in trade, the Commission has instead introduced implementing legislation which will make it all but impossible for smaller companies producing fine-cut and niche tobacco products to continue operating.”