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Category: International

  • In Australia, Plain Packaging Rules Harm IP, and Taxpayers

    Michi Iljazi on May 16, 2014

    Australian Flag

    Intellectual Property (IP) issues have been getting more and more attention in recent years and there are plenty of aspects to consider when looking at IP in the totality of today’s overall economy. The foundations of some of the guiding principles of our nation recognize the importance of intellectual property and that shouldn’t be lost in any debate or discussion related to IP. The free market thrives best when IP is recognized and not infringed upon by those eager to regulate. IP has become one of the most crucial factors to driving innovation in a time when our commerce is operating on a global scale in a 24/7 environment. A recent National Review article highlighted why IP rights are so important in this age of innovation. One battle that has implications for IP is the alarming trend of the public sector dictating how products can be marketed to the public. Recent news abroad in Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom that relate to plain packaging of tobacco should cause alarm for those concerned with IP rights, as overreach becomes more and more common. Tobacco has been a popular target for excessive taxation and now plain packaging.  In the United States, elected officials are constantly trying to find ways to go after tobacco a means to generate increased revenue and aim at deterring smoking. However, these types of misguided policy initiatives are not strictly limited to just a domestic problem, there are international governments who are using their power to go after tobacco as a means of revenue generation while also looking to cut down on use.  The problem is that neither happens, the revenue tends to be Fool’s Gold and tobacco use is not impacted.

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  • Obama Must Push Senate Dems on Free Trade

    David Williams on May 9, 2014


    This article originally appeared in on April 30, 2014

    As President Obama concludes his tour of Asia, one of the most pressing issues he discussed with his counterparts is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement currently under negotiation between the United States and eleven other nations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Two of these countries – Japan and Malaysia – are stops on the President’s tour, and his visit to the region is a sign of how important the Trans-Pacific Partnership is to American trade policy and our overall foreign policy. TPP is also critical to jump-start a lagging U.S. economy. The Asia-Pacific region is already home to some of our biggest trading partners, including President Obama’s first stop in Japan, our fourth-largest partner. On the other side of the Pacific, Canada and Mexico are first and third respectively. While the United States already holds individual Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several countries that would become part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, signing the agreement would open up exciting new markets like Japan, Malaysia and Brunei to the top-notch goods and services provided by American workers.

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  • MEADS Making a Comeback Via Ukraine Crisis?

    Michi Iljazi on March 25, 2014


    When it comes to issues dealing with international conflict and foreign engagement, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) rarely stakes out political or policy ground regarding debates that give way during these situations. However, one debate that is surfacing as a result of what is happening in Ukraine is the importance of missile defense in today’s global landscape. TPA is no stranger to this issue and there should be genuine concern from taxpayers that some may be using a crisis halfway around the world to try to drum up supportfor a defense program, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), that is so undesirable the bad reviews are not just domestic, but international. MEADS is an international missile-to-missile intercept program with the U.S. as the lead country funding the program. MEADS, which started in 2005, is a program so wasteful and so bad, that even the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibited the funding of the program in 20112012, and in 2013. The problems with MEADS, and why it is aptly named the ‘Missile to Nowhere,’ are because of the prohibitive cost, scheduling problems, and bad performance. The fact that anyone is even discussing a possible resurrection of MEADS at a time when we need budget constraint at the Pentagon is alarming. There is another reason that MEADS should be nowhere in the conversation of how we go about reassuring our allies in Europe, during what is clearly a delicate time for global community. MEADS wasn’t just a failure on the domestic side, it was a folly overseas too as we attempted to sell the program to allies in Europe.

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  • No Pot of Gold for Businesses or Consumers if Ireland Moves Ahead on Plain Packaging

    Michi Iljazi on March 14, 2014

    President Obama & Taoiseach Enda Kenny

    The annual celebration of one of the most famous Saints is nearing, and along with the festivities that many will enjoy, there is much to celebrate about the land that gives us the greenest of yearly holidays, St. Patrick’s Day! Ireland is to be commended for their foresight to encourage commerce and business through free-market principles, and it shows with each company that makes a move to do business in the land of Saints and Scholars.  Unfortunately, for all the pro-business, pro-consumer, pro-taxpayer aspects of Ireland and their system of commerce, there is something brewing that may be cause for holding off on the weekend festivities. There appears to be a movement toward adopting an anti-business, anti-consumer, and anti-free market tactic known as ‘plain packaging’; and TPA is gravely concerned and deeply disappointed with this development. The impact felt by the United States business community at large by plain packaging is particularly important considering the timely visit to the US by the leader of the Irish government that began Thursday. Taoiseach Enda Kenny (Ireland’s Prime Minister) arrived yesterday and plans to meet with the President, Vice-President, and Congress thru the weekend. The trip is focused on several issues, including Ireland’s reinvigorating economic outlook.

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  • TPA Sends Letter Urging Government of Ireland to Oppose Plain Packaging

    Michi Iljazi on January 21, 2014

    Roodstown Castle, Co. Louth, Ireland (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

    In addition to the work that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) does in the United States, TPA has been involved in issues that reach across the world including Australia, Europe, and Uganda to make sure that elected officials are spending taxpayer dollars wisely and creating a business friendly climate that is beneficial to taxpayers, consumers, and businesses.   One issue in particular that TPA has been following is ‘plain packaging’ of tobacco products (read previous work by TPA here).  Specifically, in Australia in 2012, the nation passed a law that “prevents tobacco advertising and promotion of tobacco products and tobacco product packaging by making it an offence to sell, supply, purchase, package or manufacture tobacco products or packaging for retail sale that are not compliant with plain packaging requirements.” The results have been disastrous. Now, Ireland appears to be headed in a similar direction.  Today, TPA sent a letter to Taoiseach (Ireland’s equivalent of Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, and the Irish government, to urge them to not adopt plain packaging regulations.  Australia has shown us that plain packaging is the wrong policy and that this policy harms businesses and taxpayers.  If Ireland adopts plain packaging rules it will hurt taxpayers, consumers, and businesses in both in Ireland and the United States.

    To read the full letter, click 'read more' below. » Read More
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