Not just our trade affected by plain packaging, now Scotch is in the gun

I wrote earlier in eh week about Indonesia threatening retaliation for our $900 million export trade to Indonesia if plain packaging goes ahead. This would likely affect our wine exports and also milk…the two largest and with the milk the most sensitive.

Indonesia has also said to the UK that the lucrative Scotch Whisky trade will likely be retaliated against if plain packaging is implemented in the UK.

The same arguments that Tim Groser was putting forward about sovereign nations retaining rights to protect the health of its citizens can also apply to alcohol and infant formulas. In Indonesia’s case on alcohol they could simply use the fact they are a muslim nation and alcohol is forbidden in the Koran, so plain packaging is needed to reduce consumption…the same claims that plain packaging advocates use for implementation against tobacco.

SCOTCH whisky could be dragged into a tit-for-tat trade war because of plans to ­introduce plain packaging for cigarettes in Scotland and the rest of the UK, MPs fear.

The Indonesian government has proposed forcing Australian wine to be sold in plain packaging in retaliation for Australia introducing plain packs for cigarettes in December 2012.

Indonesia is expected to impose the same restrictions on New Zealand when that country introduces plain packs for tobacco products shortly.

The south-east Asian nation has called on other major tobacco-producing countries to follow its lead. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers and has a high rate of domestic cigarette consumption.

Legislation for plain cigarette packaging in Scotland is due to be introduced at Holyrood before the end of the current parliament. Prime Minister David Cameron has strongly hinted that laws for the measure south of the Border will be included in the Queen’s Speech in June.

This has led to speculation from MPs that whisky could join wine from Australia and New Zealand in being sold in plain packaging in tobacco-producing nations. Glasgow Central MP Anas Sarwar, who supports the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco, urged ministers to intervene with Indonesia to ensure Scotch is not dragged into the dispute.

The Labour MP, who is a member of the all party parliamentary group on Indonesia, said: “UK ministers need to protect the interests of Scotch whisky and must ensure that it is not dragged into any international dispute as a result of the government introducing plain packaging for cigarettes.”

Conservative MP Priti Patel, who chairs the all party parliamentary group for small shops, recently wrote to retailers across the UK asking them to lobby the UK and Scottish governments against the plans for plain cigarette packaging.

She said: “Ministers need to be aware of the wider consequences of legislation, including the effects on international trade as well as the problems it causes for small shops across the country.

“Plain packaging is a very blunt and ill-thought-out instrument for dealing with a health issue.”

Iman Pambagyo, the director general of international trade co-operation in Indonesia’s trade ministry, said the use of plain packaging for cigarettes was not backed by scientific evidence.

“If there is no scientific clarity, the policy should not be applied, because it can affect our other commodities,” he said.

He added that the Indonesian government could implement a plain packaging policy for alcoholic beverages from Australia.

This is of course the slippery slope, when the lobbyist win against tobacco they will start on plain packaging for alcohol, sugar, chocolate…almost anything that they deem to be unhealthy. It could even affect meat…eventually.

Branding will be destroyed, companies destroyed all because of state funded busy bodies who have no evidence.

Make no mistake the busy bodies are coming for your industry next, and they will use the same tactics against your company as they do against tobacco. Watch and learn as Chelsea Sugar is attacked as “Big Sugar”, as purveyors of poison…it is already happening, they are softening up the market before they start naming companies…Coca Cola and Frucor will be top of the list.


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