Proposal by WHO for duty-free alcohol ban removed

Posted by Janice Wong on 29th January 2010

The proposal by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ban duty-free alcohol globally has now been removed. Lobbyists from the European Retail Council (ETRC) and other travel-retail organisations and associated companies have worked hard for six weeks following the release of the proposal in early December.

ETRC secretary general Keith Spinks is pleased with the result, after intensive talks with government representatives from all over the world.

“Our message was clear-duty-free is not part of the problem. It appears that we have been listened to. This is a WHO strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, not to reduce or restrict alcohol consumption. Duty-free is already strictly controlled by customs authorities. There is absolutely no need whatsoever for the WHO to propose any further regulations.”

Spinks added however, that the ETRC must “remain vigilant” as there may be attempts to re-introduce the deleted proposal when it is presented at the World Health Assembly in May.