As distributors of tobacco products, FWD members help to ensure that age-restricted goods are sold legally through responsible retailers.
FWD supports measures to prevent the illegal trade in counterfeit and duty-avoided cigarettes, and initiatives that raise awareness of the health harms associated with smoking. We’re working with Imperial Tobacco to encourage retailers and other cash and carry customers to report illicit activity in the tobacco market.
The EU Commission published its draft regulations to establish a ‘track and trace’ system for tobacco. The regulations offer a regulatory framework that would place numerous requirements on wholesalers. FWD has joined with colleagues from 15 trade associations in the European distribution sector to raise concerns with the European Commission on this issue, as well as engaging directly with HMRC in the UK, as well as the EU Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons.
April 16: HMRC has now confirmed the timeframes for the track and trace ID code application process. Under the regulations, wholesalers are required to have an Economic Operator Identifier Codes and Facility Identifier Codes for each depot/warehouse/DC which stores tobacco. To obtain these identifier codes, wholesalers must apply to the Government-appointed ID issuer, De La Rue. The live pre-registration website will not be active until April 23.
The codes may not be issued until May 10. This is important if members are planning to bulk register retailers as they will be unable to do so until they have been issued their own EOID code.
Wholesalers can bulk register customers but there is no requirement for them to do so. FWD’s advice tomembers is that registration of customers is not something wholesalers should be offering.
The liability for registering is the retailer’s and they should therefore take ownership of the process. Ifwholesalers register their customers that customer may not be aware of the requirement to have an EOIDand this could cause problems post May 20 when they attempt to purchase tobacco from either the wholesaler who registered them or another wholesaler, should they not have the information available or even any knowledge of the process. Retailers can only hold one number; should wholesalers register on their behalf there is a high probability they won’t be aware of this and will attempt to register multiple times. There is also a high risk of error if registrations are conducted on behalf of customers.
Secondary repository guide
March 22: The secondary repository provider Dentsu has created a guide for economic operators so that they can access all their technical and integration resources. The site includes the overall roll-out timeline, the list of specifications and data dictionary, Q&A and a function to contact the support team. You will need to register on the site to access all the information except for the public specifications.
February 28: Ahead of the tobacco track and trace regulations coming into effect on 20 May 2019, HMRC has published a consultation into the draft regulations.
All wholesalers selling tobacco must apply for an economic operator identifier code and a facility identifier code from the ID issuer appointed by the Government. HMRC have not completed their appointment of the ID Issuer, and therefore there is still no information on when the application process will open or how to apply for a code.
Wholesalers have expressed concerns about whether wholesalers should register their customers as economic operators, as they are able to do under the regulations. Concerns centre around integrity of information both now and an an ongoing basis, the need for retailer responsibility and the resources required to do proxy registrations. It is up to each individual wholesaler to make an assessment as to whether they wish to register their customers.
Under the regulations wholesalers are entitled to compensation, via SGS, from the tobacco manufacturers for the provision of equipment to be able to carry out track and trace. Manufacturers are required to provide the hardware and software for the recording and transmission of the information for product movement and transactional events to the data storage systems. The regulations do not extend to training cost or cost associated to the additional time required.
December 5: Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol at 50p per unit was introduced in Scotland on May 1. The Scottish Government has published general guidance for ‘reference for sellers of alcohol’ on MUP (www.minimumunitpricing.scot).
The Scottish Government has published its Alcohol Framework 2018, which sets out its interventions and policies to help reduce associated harms from alcohol. Minimum Unit Pricing is discussed in the report and the Scottish Government says it will review the minimum unit price level of 50 pence per unit following two full years of operation, after 1 May 2020.
August 8: The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on the Minimum Unit Pricing and treatment of wholesalers with a premise licence. Minimum Unit Pricing is a mandatory condition of licence in Scotland which has led to some confusion over how it should apply to wholesalers with a premises licence selling to both trade and non-trade customers.
In the consultation document the Scottish Government states: “There is no intention, and there never has been any intention, by the Scottish Government that Minimum Unit Pricing would apply to trade sales. The policy is that only sales of alcohol which are not trade sales should be subject to the minimum price.”
This consultation aims to clarify that position in the regulations and to make clear that wholesalers with a premise licence are permitted to operate dual pricing.
FWD welcomes this clarification and will be responding to the consultation, which runs until October 26.
June 7: FWD met HMRC to discuss track and trace requirements on tobacco, which will apply from May 20, 2019. From that date all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco in the EU market must carry a unique identifier on each unit, aggregated pack, master, pallet and container. The identifier will take the form of a barcode or QR code which will need to be scanned and the information sent to a third party database (appointed by HMRC) when cigarettes/RYO tobacco are dispatched to retail customers.
Although the system goes live in 2019 there will be a 12 month implementation period to allow sell through of non-coded tobacco; however, all coded products will need to be scanned out from May 20, 2019. The security features and scanning process required will be specified by HMRC in the autumn.
Wholesalers will need to apply for an Economic Operator Code, which will be available from January 2019. HMRC guidance will be published in the autumn. No action is required by wholesalers at this point.