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Chamber of Commerce of the USA Year 2013 BigT front group

Chamber of Commerce of the USA Year 2013 BigT front group Time for a sledgehammer FCTC update on tobacco fronts, dealing with, IGO non- engagement rules, Observer status requirements must mandate zero engagement



Senior Management Committee

The U.S. Chamber advances your interests through its nationally-recognized team of lobbyists and policy experts. Together, they help craft pro-business legislation and block excessive taxes and regulations.

· Thomas J. Donohue – President and CEO
· Shannon DiBari – Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
· Ann Beauchesne – Senior Vice President, National Security & Emergency Preparedness Department
· Myron Brilliant – Executive Vice President and Head of International
· Lily Fu Claffee – Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and General Counsel; Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center
· Suzanne Clark – Executive Vice President
· Thomas Collamore – Senior Vice President, Communications and Strategy and Counselor to the President
· Rob Engstrom – Senior Vice President, Political Affairs & Federation Relations and National Political Director
· Amanda Engstrom Eversole – Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff; Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness; Acting President, Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation
· Karen Alderman Harbert – President and CEO, Institute for 21st Century Energy
· Stan Harrell – Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer
· David Hirschmann – Snr VP, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; President & CEO, U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness; President and CEO, the Global Intellectual Property Center
· Jack Howard – Senior Vice President, Congressional and Public Affairs
· Randy Johnson – Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits
· R. Bruce Josten – Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
· William Kovacs – Senior Vice President, Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs
· John G. Murphy – Senior Vice President for International Policy
· Marty Regalia – Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
· Lisa Rickard – President, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, President, Workforce Freedom Initiative, Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
· John Sullivan – Executive Director, Center for International Private Enterprise
· Agnes Warfield-Blanc – Senior Vice President, Development

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the principal governing and policymaking body of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The board’s membership is as diverse as the nation’s business community itself, with more than 100 corporate and small business leaders serving from all sectors and sizes of business, and from all regions of the country.

Directors determine the U.S. Chamber’s policy positions on business issues and advise the U.S. Chamber on appropriate strategies to pursue. Through their participation in meetings and activities held across the nation, Directors help implement and promote U.S. Chamber policies and objectives.

· Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO
· Michael Ducker, Chairman of the Board of Directors
· John L. Hopkins, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors
· John W. Bachmann, Treasurer
· Regional Vice Chairmen
· All Members
· Past Chairmen
o Tamara L. Lundgren, Immediate Past Chair and Chair of the Executive Committee
o Steve Van Andel
o Edward B. Rust, Jr.
o John Ruan III
o Thomas D. Bell, Jr.
o Robert S. Milligan
o Donald J. Shepard
o Paul S. Speranza Jr.

International Tax and Investment Centre – ITIC and like tobacco front groups

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Facts point to the success of plain packaging

Jan 16 2015

Nicholas Talley

Persistent discourse about what some critics see as the failed effectiveness of plain packaging does not detract from proven, consistent facts from reliable sources.

In the 22 months after plain packaging was introduced in December 2012, tobacco and cigarette spending fell by 7.3 per cent, according to ABS statistics.

Until we see evidence proving otherwise, it is crucial we question counterarguments. All too often, these arguments are influenced by Big Tobacco’s attempts to erode the very legislation created to reduce death and disease caused by smoking.

Yes, tobacco excise has played a role in smoking rates falling. But why would we criticise this when it has been part of the united solution? It’s a simple notion — fewer people smoking cigarettes means fewer people dying.

But with smoking rates continuing to fall, who would want to attack life-saving legislation?

The answer is Big Tobacco. So it comes as no surprise the Institute of Public Affairs, which receives Big Tobacco funding, continues to use unreliable data in its arguments to discredit plain packaging.

To say plain packaging has resulted in increased illicit tobacco use is problematic.

Health groups have questioned the validity of the internet surveys used in industry studies as part of KPMG’s report on illicit tobacco. These same surveys have been used to form these claims.

Cancer Council Victoria has shown that data from sources independent of the tobacco industry indicate there are relatively low and stable levels of illegal tobacco use in Australia.

Furthermore, their critique offers alternative estimates on illegal tobacco use in Australia and refers to results from the 2013 National Drug and Alcohol Survey.

These suggest a decline since 2007 in the percentage of smokers who are aware of unbranded tobacco, who have ever smoked it and who currently use it.

Yet time and time again we see Big Tobacco quick to laud dubious evidence in its arguments that plain packaging has failed.

Plain packaging laws are absolutely necessary. They play a pivotal role as part of a raft of measures designed to help smokers quit.

Importantly they prevent people from taking up smoking and, as a result, less people die and suffer from smoking-related disease.

The opinion piece on Wednesday by Simon Breheny, Legal Rights Project director at the Institute of Public Affairs, is just the latest example of a Big Tobacco smoke-and-mirror job.

Will it be Big Tobacco’s last attempt at peddling their message that plain packaging does not work? Certainly not.

Will their attempts undermine the fact that preventing people from smoking saves lives? Never.

Prof Nicholas Talley is president of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians

A front group for Big Tobacco

October 20, 2014

Sir, In James C Miller III’s letter (October 16), the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) attempts to cast itself as a key stakeholder in setting tobacco taxation policy at last week’s meetings for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. But the Russian government and Secretariat for the treaty were right to renounce ITIC as an arm of the tobacco industry. For all ITIC’s bluster about offering “fact-based taxation advice” and “transparency” in its dealings with governments, the reality is the organisation acts as a front group for big tobacco. Its main financial sponsors includes four of the largest tobacco corporations, including Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco.

Margaret Chan, the World Health Organisation director-general, has many times noted that allowing these bad actors to participate in their own regulation is akin to foxes guarding the hen house. And to this end the treaty has prohibited as much. The strong guidelines on tobacco taxation adopted last week by the 178 countries party to the treaty is tribute to this prohibition.

John Stewart

Corporate Accountability International

Director, Challenge Big Tobacco Campaign



FCTC boots public from plenary hall

14 Oct 2014.

Delegates to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Moscow opted to bar the public, including media representatives, from their plenary session, according to two accounts.

Following ejection of tobacco industry observers, expert groups and some media representatives from the viewing gallery from the 13 Oct opening session, all accredited media were kept from the hall on the following day, a Russian journalist told TJI. The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) is scheduled to close on 18 Oct.

“Hidden agendas corrupt policy-making processes”, commented Michiel Reerink, vice president for global regulatory strategy at Japan Tobacco International. “COP is again hijacked by tobacco control lobbyists who freely exercise undue influence. We urge the FCTC to take every remaining opportunity to fix this broken process,” Reerink said in a prepared statement.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, in the text of her COP6 opening address, said “, despite the fact that we are facing new threats, like the Ebola virus, we still draw your attention to the fact that tobacco control remains our main priority.”

COP meetings are held semi-annually to review and expand the scope of the FCTC. COP sessions in Korea two years ago and Uruguay in 2010 also were closed to outside observers.

All systems go for BIR’s stamp tax project

MANILA, Philippines – Its all systems go for the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s stamp tax project following the approval by the Department of Finance of the proposed revenue regulation mandating the affixture of stamps on all imported and locally made cigarettes.

Under the Internal Revenue Stamp System (IRSIS), every packet of locally-manufactured cigarettes must bear a stamp tax by Oct. 1 to indicate that the required excise tax has been paid by the manufacturers.

Imported cigarettes, on the other hand, will have the new stamp tax starting Feb. 2015.

The IRSIS allows authorities to further secure the distribution system as well as aid in the investigation of illicit trade.

Under this system, it is possible to quickly distinguish genuine from counterfiet cigarettes and to verify the authenticity of the tax stamps applied on the packs by manufacturers.

BIR commissioner Kim Henares said the new regulation is key to the government’s anti-smuggling strategy as the stamps serve as effective tracking and audit tools to ensure that all due taxes are collected on cigarettes.

“This measure will strengthen our capacity to combat smuggling of tobacco products. We believe in implementing regulations with enough teeth to bite down on smugglers who are intent on depriving the nation of critical resources for greed and private gain,” Henares said.

To effectively monitor  the movement of tobacco products, the BIR will order the installation of a close circuit television monitoring system on all production and withdrawal points in the premises of all cigarette firms.

Aside from curbing illicit  cigarette sales, the trace and trace system is expected to help  raise additional revenues for the government, said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

“In 2013, revenues from the Sin Tax Law were 51 percent higher than projected. Simple governance measures like this enable the government to push harder in driving our revenue collection performance ever upwards. We are consistently looking at ways to enhance the government’s ability to raise revenues at a critical time requiring much investments to our infrastructure, services, and people,” Purisima said.

All importers and local cigarette manufacturers are required to enroll or register with the IRSIS prior before they purchase the stamps.

Illicit trade has become a concern for some major tobacco manufacturers and some organizations.

A study done by the UK-based think tank Oxford Economics, together with the International Tax and Investment Center, showed that the Philippines has become one of the biggest markets for illegal cigarette sales, accounting for 34.5 percent of all untaxed cigarettes consumed within ASEAN, the second highest after Vietnam which took up a 39-percent share.

ITIC president Daniel A. Witt said the Philippines now has the fastest growing black market as one out of five cigarettes sold in the country is illegal.

Illicit consumption across Asia was estimated to have increased by 20.1 percent to 79.9 billion cigarettes, mainly driven by the 198-percent surge in illegal cigarette sales in the Philippines.

On the other hand, Pakistan and Singapore saw significant declines in the share of illicit consumption.

According to the study, the Philippines also posted the biggest jump in tax loss from illicit consumption at 49 percent, representing 9.4 percent of the total $3.9-billion losses incurred by the ASEAN region. The largest tax losses were in Australia ($1.35 billion), Malaysia ($624 million) and Hong Kong ($395 million).

September 16, 2014

The Standard: SAR hotspot for smuggled cigs

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Illicit cigarettes make up nearly 34 percent of consumption locally, placing Hong Kong third in the list of cigarette-smuggling places in Asia, according to a study.

The study “Asia-14: 2013 Illicit Tobacco Indicator” notes that nearly 16,600 cases of cigarette- smuggling were handled by the Customs and Excise Department last year, with illicit cigarettes seized worth HK$222 million, up 15.6 percent over 2012.

Illicit cigarettes make up 33.6 percent of the total purchased in the SAR, according to the study, placing Hong Kong behind only Malaysia and Brunei.

The study was conducted by UK-based Oxford Economics in partnership with the US-based International Tax and Investment Center and funded by Phillip Morris International.

ITIC president Daniel Witt said that excessive tax rises are the main cause of the increase.

Planned and gradual tax increases were preferable to radical tax shocks, he said, adding that criminal syndicates could make huge profits if there was a sudden large increase in the price of cigarettes. BRYAN WONG

Jolly, tobacco front smokes public again

It is an open secret that tobacco firms deliberately aid cigarette smuggling, for instance, by manufacturing excess cigarettes to flood the illicit market, primarily to keep their products at affordable pricing on the black market. That did not stop tobacco-funded campaigner, Richard Jolly, from trying to smoke the public regarding the illicit tobacco situation; in fact, he even accuses the Hong Kong police and customs of supposed inaction.

from Qi Luo of the Standard:

Cops accused in illicit tobacco poll

Seven in 10 people say it is easy for teenagers and children to get hold of illicit cigarettes, a poll shows.

Hong Kong United Against Illicit Tobacco, which is supported by Philip Morris Asia among others, also accused police of turning a blind eye to the sale of smuggled cigarettes in the territory.

The group commissioned market research firm Ipsos to survey 1,006 people last November and December.

It found 70 percent believed it was “fairly easy or very easy” for people under 18 to access illegal tobacco products.

About 64 percent agreed that black market cigarettes contributed to youth smoking due to lower prices and ease in buying without age verification.

Social worker Harris Har Man-kwong of Hong Kong Christian Service said illicit cigarettes are much cheaper, making it attractive for teenage smokers to find a way to buy them.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said in a TVB interview the number of Primary Four to Six students who smoke is increasing.

“We’re worried,” Chan said. “Most of current smokers started when they were teenagers.”

Chan said the Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Office will work with the Po Leung Kuk to fund non-smoking education at its kindergartens.

The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health urged the government to raise the tobacco tax up to 100 percent in the 2014-15 fiscal year, making the price of a cigarette pack HK$84.

It believes high tobacco duty will prevent youngsters from trying smoking for the first time.

The Ipsos survey, however, showed 90 percent believe the government should curb illicit cigarettes. Hong Kong United Against Illicit Tobacco convener and former policeman Robin Jolly said police have little incentive to crack down on the sale of smuggled cigarettes. He urged the government to effectively tackle the illicit cigarette trade before introducing any tobacco tax increase as it might inadvertently drive smokers to buy illegal cigarettes.

“We have to contain the problem before we consider raising tax and just making the problems bigger,” Jolly said.

A study released by Oxford Economics last year showed that more than 35 percent of cigarettes consumed in Hong Kong in 2012 were illicit. It estimated 1.8 billion illicit cigarettes, on which duty was not paid, cost the government HK$3.3 billion in lost tax revenue.

6 Feb 2014

Liberty Voice: Tobacco committed to limiting smoking laws globally

written by Alex Durig and published on the Guardian Liberty Voice:

Believe it or not, Big Tobacco is still committed to limiting and preventing anti-smoking laws globally. They have set out to deter global anti-smoking laws by citing trade and investment treaties that are currently in effect, and would imply costly court battles for all parties concerned. This is the strategic response from Big Tobacco to a rising trend in anti-smoking legislation the world over, according to an article in today’s New York Times.

In 2012, Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the W.H.O., delivered the keynote address at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore. In that speech, titled “Galvanizing global action towards a tobacco-free world ,” Dr. Chan alleged that legal actions taken against Uruguay, Norway and Australia had been “deliberately designed to instill fear” in countries trying to reduce smoking.

Yet, here we are, more than a year later, and the World Health Organization cannot make a dent in the agenda of Big Tobacco. We live in a world where there seems to be a toss-up when it comes to tobacco.

On the one hand, if you are in California, you cannot even light a cigarette if you are sitting at a restaurant table outside on the sidewalk. The state believes research indicates smoking is bad for our health.

However, in Kentucky people still smoke like it was going out of style. Of course, the state has always been the proud home of Big Tobacco in many ways.

So, which is more important: the freedom to live how people want to live, or the freedom to die how they want to die?


BBC: Comic Relief money invested in arms and tobacco shares

by Declan Lawn, reporting for BBC Panorama:

Millions of pounds donated to Comic Relief have been invested in funds with shares in tobacco, alcohol and arms firms, BBC Panorama has learned.

The BBC has also seen evidence which suggests Save the Children censored criticism of energy firms, to avoid upsetting corporate partners.

Comic Relief said it used its funds to “deliver the greatest benefits to the most vulnerable people”.

Save the Children said its campaigns were unaffected by any partnerships.

Comic Relief has raised nearly £1bn for worthwhile causes in the UK and abroad.

It pays out the money it receives to other charities, sometimes over several years.

That means Comic Relief holds tens of millions of pounds at any one time.

The charity uses a number of managed funds which invests that money on the charity’s behalf, including in the stock market.

Panorama has learnt that between 2007 and 2009, some of these investments, amounting to millions of pounds, appear to contradict several of its core aims.

Despite its mission statement claiming it is committed to helping “people affected by conflict”, in 2009 the charity had £630,000 invested in shares in weapons firm BAE Systems.

Comic Relief also had more than £300,000 invested in shares in the alcohol industry despite its mission statement saying it is “working to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise alcohol related harm”.

The majority was invested in Diageo, which manufactures dozens of alcoholic drinks and was criticised by the Health Select Committee in 2009 for exploiting weaknesses in the regulation of alcohol advertising.

Comic Relief also appeals for money to fight tuberculosis and has given over £300,000 to a charity called Target Tuberculosis.

Target TB believes that smoking may be responsible for over 20% of TB cases worldwide.

While raising funds in 2009, nearly £3m of Comic Relief money was invested in shares in tobacco companies.

During that time, entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne was a full trustee of Comic Relief.

In 2008 he made a BBC documentary attacking a tobacco company for targeting African children.

He told Panorama he “wouldn’t put donors’ money into tobacco companies” and said charities should invest ethically.

Duncan Bannatyne, a trustee of Comic Relief in 2009, says he would not invest in tobacco firms. (BBC)