Round-Up - The ICAP Digest - July 2014
Every month, the International Center for Alcohol Policies looks at responsible drinking measures around the world
Once a month, the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), which covers alcohol policies worldwide, looks at what's going on in-market to promote a responsible role for alcohol in society.
Advertising. Russian President Vladimir Putin has temporarily suspended legislation that bans beer advertising at sports stadiums. The suspension will be effective through Russia’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2018, and the prohibition on advertising will go back into effect again in 2019. The new policy also allows for beer advertisements during broadcasts of sporting events.
Norway’s Health Minister Bent Høie is reportedly drafting regulations loosening existing advertising restrictions to permit some marketing of alcohol beverages online. Ministry of Health State Secretary Cecilie Brein-Karlsen said that existing regulations are outdated, especially given the emergence of new media in recent years, and the ne regulations will clarify for market participants which advertising practices are permitted and which are not.
Officials. China’s Communist Party leadership has issued a number of restrictions on alcohol consumption to its officials in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The new rules prohibit public officials in Guangxi from consuming alcohol during work, participating in so-called drinking games, or pressuring others into drinking in public places. Other banned activities include drinking in public while wearing an official uniform, drinking while transporting classified materials, drink-driving, and being heavily intoxicated at any time.
Under a new policy instituted by the United States Seventh Air Force, service personnel are prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol during their first 30 days stationed at bases in South Korea. “We are guests here and not only do our actions matter, they have strategic implications,” said Seventh Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Jan-Marc Jouas, who described the new measures as “a fresh start to change the tone in Korea.”
Enforcement. The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) has called on national transport authorities to institute more stringent enforcement of traffic laws on a year-round basis, rather than only coinciding with seasonal events. CAP President SM Mohamed Idris said the World Health Organization ranked Malaysia 20th in road deaths in 2011 and the country received poor ratings for its enforcement of laws on drink-driving and speed limits. Idris contended that significant improvements to the culture of enforcement were necessary in order to change the attitudes and behaviours of Malaysian drivers.
New research funded by ICAP highlights the need for improved drink driving enforcement and awareness in the Colombian city of Neiva. Survey results indicated that 67% of respondents in the city had encountered police checkpoints in the previous six months but were not required to stop, and found that the general level of understanding of drink driving legislation among residents was poor. The figures were released in the paper “Study of behavior, perceptions, and attitudes around the consumption of alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol and the new law on alcohol,” which was presented at an event in Neiva.
Hiked. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has issued a presidential order increasing tax rates in Egypt by 200% for beer, 150% for other alcohol beverages, and 50% for cigarettes. Under the new rates, both domestic and imported beer will be subject to a tax of at least EGP400 (US$56) per hectolitre, while domestic and imported wine and distilled spirits will be subject to a minimum tax of EGP15 per litre.
In India, the Government of Nashik has approved a 2% increase in the local body tax (LBT) on alcohol beverages in order to help fund its newly-approved INR29.7bn (US$496m) budget. While the alcohol LBT would be increasing from 7% to 9%, Mayor Yatin Wagh noted that Nashik’s LBT on alcohol would remain lower than the 12% tax imposed in Navi Mumbai.
Assurance. The Government of Myanmar has introduced a geographical indication for Scotch whisky to help ensure the authenticity of products sold on the domestic market and help facilitate legal action against misleading or illegitimate alcohol beverages. UK Ambassador to Myanmar Andrew Patrick praised the Government for taking steps to protect Scotch whisky products, commenting that a “robust legal framework is of great importance to foreign investors in any market.”
Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has proposed legislation that would institute certificates of origin for wine and establish quality criteria for wines made from domestically-grown grapes. LDP officials are discussing working with industry representatives to develop the criteria, and have indicated that the establishment of such certification and standards could improve Japanese wine’s competitiveness in the international market.
Vandalism. Officials in the Argentine municipality of San Carlos de Bariloche instituted a 24-hour ban on alcohol sales to coincide with the World Cup final between Argentina and Germany. Citing incidents of vandalism that occurred following a previous 2014 World Cup match, the Secretary of Public Safety reportedly indicated that prior efforts to encourage suspension of sales were “often disregarded,” and said the prevention campaign would be coordinated by local, provincial, and federal law enforcement agencies.
Coinciding with French National Day, officials in the department of Oise imposed a temporary ban on sales or consumption of alcohol in municipalities with more than 5,000 residents. In its announcement of the ban, the prefecture of Oise cited drink-driving-related road traffic crashes, particularly at night, as a concern during the holiday, and noted that the number of vehicles intentionally burned during National Day celebrations had increased from 34 in 2012 to 43 in 2013.
Highway. The Nepal Government has announced plans to ban alcohol sales from retailers along major highways. Kathmandu Metropolitan Traffic Police Chief Keshav Adhikari indicated that approximately 50% of road traffic crashes are alcohol-related, and contended that drink- driving had been displaced to highways due to anti-drink-driving measures instituted in Kathmandu.
Ukraine’s Vekhovna Rada is considering draft legislation that would prohibit sales of alcohol beverages at gas stations. Party of Regions Deputies Tatiana Bakhteyeva and Anna German drafted the legislative amendments, stating that the proposal’s primary aim is to reduce the general availability of alcohol beverages, especially availability to drivers and vehicle passengers.
Delivery. A government-commissioned investigative committee in Sweden has recommended regulators take steps to restrict online alcohol sales. The recommendation is based on the result of a study into whether retailers and other vendors have been exploiting loopholes in private import laws to bypass state alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget. The conclusion of the study was that the addition of alcohol orders to grocery store home-deliveries and the existence of for-profit “wine clubs” should both be prohibited.
Conversely, the Chamber of Commerce & Industry has called on the Russian Government to create a legal framework for the online sale of alcohol. Authorities have reportedly been struggling to enforce legislation prohibiting the distance-selling of alcohol, and the trade group wants a register created that would allow consumers to make purchases from online retailers approved by federal officials. Consumers can currently find illegal online retailers with ease by typing “vodka delivery” into a search engine, resulting in untaxed illicit sales.
Rented. In Latvia, a Bauskas-based delivery service is circumventing restrictions on permissible trading hours by offering alcohol beverages for “rent”. Making deliveries to local and distant customers for EUR2 (US$2.70) or more, the Alcoclub company reportedly operates between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., during which time-frame retail alcohol sales are suspended. An Alcoclub spokesperson noted that clients are given the option of returning unopened bottles for their money back.
The International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) is a not-for-profit organisation supported by major international producers of beverage alcohol. Established in 1995, ICAP’s mission is to promote understanding of the role of alcohol in society and to help reduce harmful drinking worldwide. ICAP’s efforts to foster dialogue and partnerships in the alcohol policy field are shaped by its commitment to pragmatic and feasible solutions to reducing harm that can be tailored to local and cultural considerations and needs. ICAP has been recognised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) as a non-governmental organisation in Special Consultative Status.
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