The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on the UK government to provide clarity on the new EU track and trace requirements for tobacco products. The government has said that there will be no fees associated with the application process for the codes, but there is still a lack of clarity over the time that retailers will be given to apply for the codes, and there are still “unanswered questions” about the operation of the regulations.
It is now clear that many of the requirements mandated by the EU’s track and trace system are unrealistic for manufacturers and the operators in the distribution chain. Both have expressed grave concerns about the operational aspects of the system, which are still undefined in many cases. The Commission’s implementation deadlines look increasingly unrealistic, and as obvious holes become exposed the system is showing itself to have been poorly conceived.
ESTA Secretary General Peter van der Mark said: “Retailers across the continent are concerned about the timeline for implementation of the Commission’s track and trace regulation. No one understands better than shopkeepers the on-the-ground reality of illicit tobacco trade, and the need for effective measures to tackle it. ACS members make clear that there is still no clarity on the day-to-day operational aspects of the system, and the UK is not the only member state where on time implementation is looking more and more difficult.”