Dr. Bruce Budd was invited to Dubai on Sunday 14th April 2013 to participate in a Round Table discussion independently moderated by Richard Dean, the host of ‘Business Tonight’ on Dubai Eye radio and co-ordinated by Total Communications, (Arabian Gulf affiliate of Ecco International Public Relations). The attendees were: Major Dr. Khalid Al Hassan, Head of the Anti-Forgery section of Economic Crime Department of Dubai Police; Omar Obeidat, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property at Al Tamimi & Co., the Law firm; Jonathan Davidson, Chairman of the British Business Group, Dubai & the Northern Emirates, and Managing Partner of Davidson & Co. Legal Consultants; and Dr. Bruce Q. Budd, (Associate Professor in Finance), Alfaisal University, College of Business.
The key issues discussed were based on plans being considered for the introduction of a new GCC wide tax, expected to bring a 100% increase in duty on tobacco products, in response to calls for action to reduce smoking by regional healthcare professionals and the World Health Organization. As top level discussions continue, however, a number of doubts and concerns are emerging over the effects of a one-step increase in tobacco tax. Some experts question whether a tax leading to a sharp rise in the price of cigarettes will have any effect on smoking, citing Japan and Ireland as examples of countries where taxation did not have the desired effect. Discussions focused on a number of key issues including: Law enforcement, Customs controls, Tax law, Sociology, Intellectual Property, and Commerce.