The European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) is urgently seeking clarity on the WHO Chairperson?s text issued recently in advance of the next round of negotiations on a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products. At
the same time, it is urging its members to maintain their government information campaign over the next crucial two months.
According to the ETRC the revised WHO text now no longer contains the earlier explicit proposal to ban sales of duty free tobacco to international travellers. Rather, a complete ban on sales of duty free tobacco is now being proposed in ?free-trade areas?. However, the WHO does not define what is meant by ?free-trade areas? and ETRC says that as a result it is unsure how this will affect airports, on board sales, ports and border shops.
In a statement, ETRC said: ‘ETRC also understands the countries that sponsored the original demands for an overall ban on duty free sales to international travellers will resubmit their proposals. Tobacco control activists will fight hard to re-insert an overall duty free ban during the negotiations. ETRC therefore calls upon members to continue in their efforts to bring these unjust and unfounded proposals to the attention of their national governments.
‘The duty free industry needs to maintain a unified, clear and robust message over the next crucial two months.’