A representative from the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington has told a Dublin Conference that the Irish government needs to "affirm the importance of adhering to international trade investment obligations" when considering the impact of plain packaging legislation for tobacco products.
Ellen Szymanski of the Chamber's Global IP Centre, told the Intellectual Property Conference, held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Dublin, that Ireland's government should "acknowledge the prudence of awaiting the outcome of the various legal challenges [to plain packaging], whether it’s at the WTO or whether it's regarding the single market; and to consider other proposals that may be very effective in achieving the public health goals."
Szymanski was the keynote speaker at the event, with her appearance coming days days after the US Chamber of Commerce lodged an objection with the European Commission over the Irish government's plans to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products.
The Chamber warned that the proposals “set a dangerous precedent at the expense of the protection of IP rights for a number of industries, not just tobacco."
A study presented by Amarach Research at the event found that one in four Irish food and drinks firms will 'stop investing' in their brands should additional legislative and regulatory changes increase the cost of doing business here.
90% of respondents to the study said that they expected the food and drink sector to be singled out for more regulatory and legislative change, while 75% said that compliance with legislation has resulted in significant additional costs such as labelling and staff training.
56% said that they expect to experience significant costs from further legislative measures, such as labeling changes. 15% said legislative and regulatory change could force them to transfer manufacturing to other location.
Speaking at the event, Gerard O'Neill, Amarach Research chairman, said the research showed that the Irish business community is worried about the impact 'excessive regulation', and in particular threats to Intellectual Property, will have on brand development.
“Three out of four say such compliance has already resulted in significant costs while more than half – 56% expect to face significant costs to become compliant with emerging and future legislation. After labelling, staff training is the main outlay followed by lab testing” he said.
“Many of these companies have intellectual property such as trademarks, brands and recipes which they consider important to their future and the fact that up to one in four expects to stop investing in food and drink brands must be of concern."
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones