The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has raised concerns about the costs and administrative burdens that new Track and Trace proposals on tobacco could have on the convenience sector.
The EU Revised Tobacco Products Directive aims to introduce a method of tracking the sale of legitimate tobacco products through the supply chain. Up to this point, the directive has stated that they would only affect the “last economic operator before the first retail outlet” but the latest draft of the regulations includes a number of demands on retailers purchasing tobacco from a wholesaler.
Under the new draft regulations, retailers would have to register and pay to receive both an economic operator identifier code for their business and a facility identifier code, which would need to be presented whenever a transaction with a wholesaler takes place.
There is currently a lack of clarity over the fees associated with applying for these codes, which ACS has raised in its submission, along with concern over the associated costs of the proposals such as staff training.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “It is important that we tackle the illicit tobacco market throughout the supply chain but these regulations would place enormous cost and time burdens on retailers, requiring them to register for identifier codes for both their overall business and each individual store, and produce them every time they buy tobacco.
“We will be seeking further clarification from the EU commission on the regulations, and will be working with the UK Government and EU commission to amend the regulations, as in their current form they would have a serious detrimental impact on the convenience sector.”
The track and trace proposals for tobacco are due to come into force in May 2019.