In August 2019, the FCA published a policy brief titled “Why the EU tracking and tracing system works only for the EU” and also promoted the publication of the brief with a blog entry on our website.
On both occasions, the FCA expressed its concerns regarding the compatibility of specific components of the European Tracking and Tracing system with the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (ITP).
The FCA suggested that these (alleged) shortcomings could be explained by the particularities of the European Single Market and that the EU solution may still be successful in a European context.
The FCA, however, also suggested that other Parties to the ITP should be aware of this situation and not look to the EU system as a blueprint that they could copy one by one in an effort to develop their own, ITP compliant, tracking and tracing solutions.
In the context of this important discussion, the FCA would like to acknowledge that it received a letter from the European Commission shortly after the publication of the above mentioned policy brief.
In this letter, the European Commission addresses the concerns the FCA highlighted and presents its point of view, arguing that the EU tracking and tracing system is fully compliant with the ITP.
While the FCA still has concerns regarding the EU tracking and tracing system, we do believe that a good-faith public debate that gives room for multiple points of view is crucial in advancing and fine-tuning a highly technical solution such as tracking and tracing.
In order to make the debate as transparent as possible, both the EU Commission and the FCA have agreed to release the correspondence on this subject so that it can be followed and considered by interested parties.