Combating Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Elizabeth Allen International Tax and Investment Center June 2014 1 TRADE IN TOBACCO PRODUCTS 2 ILLICIT TRADE IN TOBACCO PRODUCTS
WHO FCTC any practice or conduct prohibited by law and which relates to the production, shipment, receipt, possession, distribution, sale or purchase including any practice or conduct intended to facilitate such activity. Main categories are: Illicit Imports Illegal Domestic Production 3 WHY CIGARETTES? SUPPLY Economic drivers profits for criminals: Protectionist policy measures Light and portable
Inadequate enforcement including control of Free Zones and porous borders Corruption Inadequate legislation and penalties Time-consuming prosecution process Not a political priority 4 WHY CIGARETTES? DEMAND Affordability for consumers Dramatic tax hikes Reliable suppliers with well organized distribution in areas of economic and social deprivation Restrictions on flavours, pack sizes etc.
Not seen as a crime resentment Sales to minors are illegal in most countries forbidden fruit! 5 HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM? Euromonitor International 2012 Illicit trade in cigarettes is the biggest illegal trade in a legal product in terms of value and second only to illegal drugs in terms of revenue generated by smugglers. 6 ESTIMATING THE SIZE OF THE PROBLEM AND
REVENUE IMPACT KPMG Project Star estimates illicit cigarettes in the EU in 2012 at 11.1% - or 65.5 billion cigarettes - resulting in Euro 12.5 billion in lost tax revenues to Member States. Euromonitor International 2012 estimates 600 billion cigarettes - 10% of all cigarettes consumed worldwide - are illicit. Governments lose between US$40 and 50 billion tax a year. 7 MEASUREMENT Seizures may be only a small proportion but
provide useful information on trends/routes etc. Street prices of illicit goods indicate the effectiveness of enforcement. Market and consumer research utilising robust methodologies relevant to the type of tobacco market Econometric estimates repeated at regular intervals provide a baseline to indicate whether illicit trade is increasing or decreasing and a useful tool in persuading Ministers to fund essential resources. 8 NATURE OF THE PROBLEM Illicit imports - smuggled across borders
third countries borders to the east and from From Cheap or illicit whites - Products produced legally middle and far east especially cheap/illicit whites or off record in another country sometimes Across uncontrolled borders between EU Member States specificallyalcohol for smuggling (especially escaping from the bonded warehouse system) Genuine legal products Counterfeit Counterfeit products Off record factories within the EU
Illicit domestic production - evading local taxation Counterfeit products from the Middle and Far East Off record production either by poorly controlled but Local Tax Evasion licensed taxpayers or poorly by completely offexcise record Off record excise production either by
controlled producersor through completely off record producers. taxpayers 9 DRIVERS AND FACILITATORS STEEP TAX HIKES Ireland, Malaysia, Turkey and Singapore Relaxed customs controls in Free Zones Corruption Australia Operation Heritage Ineffective domestic controls on manufacture , inputs to manufacture e.g. acetate tow and onward supply Very small (1 to 2%) percentage of containers scanned/physically examined Display bans provide legitimate retailers with opportunities
to sell illicit goods to regular customers Inadequate consultation Gaps in legislation e.g. requirement to destroy seized product and equipment 10 IMPACT ON SOCIETY Organized crime money laundering Terrorism impact on global security Undermines respect for the rule of law Undermines public health and tobacco control initiatives Has most impact on young people and on those in reduced economic circumstances
Lost Government revenues Financial loss to legitimate industry and associated businesses 11 PUBLIC AWARENESS POINTS Consumers of illicit products predominantly come from lower income groups who find the legal prices unaffordable or young people who are unable to buy the goods from a legal retail outlet. Counterfeit cigarettes can contain cadmium levels five times higher and lead levels six times higher than in genuine cigarettes.
Customs officials at risk because of methods of concealment of illicit tobacco products. Contents of some illicit products have contained pesticides, arsenic, rat poison and human faeces. 12 HOW TO TACKLE IT?
A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGIC APPROACH : Top level ongoing political commitment Understand and monitor the size and nature of the problem. A balanced tax policy and effective tax collection Ensure that official controls on manufacturing and export controls, free zones and transit are appropriate and effective Practice zero tolerance of corruption Ensure legislation and regulations work and that penalties act as a deterrent Raise awareness of the judiciary so that appropriate penalties are imposed
Educate the public tackle demand as well as supply Implement the ITP consistently (across nations) and effectively Build/strengthen national and international partnerships Robust enforcement See www.customs.hmrc.gov.uk. 13 STRONG REVENUE /CUSTOMS CONTROLS ESSENTIAL Producing, storing, operating on and transporting excise goods tax-unpaid MUST be regarded as a privilege not a right with
appropriate licences controlled robustly and controls applied consistently on all players Risk and intelligence based controls need to detect illicit underground production and distribution and undeclared production by licensed producers. 14 LEGISLATION Ensure legislation enables you to: Destroy seized illicit products, raw materials, and manufacturing equipment quickly; Seize the means of transport of illicit goods; Control tobacco related activities in Free Zones;
Require all transporters of tax-unpaid goods to hold an appropriate excise licence; and Impose robust supply chain controls and interventions across manufacturing, tax free movements and on wholesale/retail sales and include key manufacturing inputs e.g. acetate tow. 15 NATIONAL ENFORCEMENT ENFORCEMENT
A cross-government enforcement strategy. All national and local enforcement agencies need adequate powers, skilled and sufficient resources and tools to act effectively. Ensure accuracy and easy interchange of data with partners. Analyse trends, use risk assessment, intelligence and mutual assistance to target illicit movements and smugglers. Effective channels for co-operation with WCO , Interpol and with other countries and legitimate industry. A robust comprehensive anti-corruption strategy AND ACTION. Enforcement authorities must be involved in policy discussions on tobacco regulation.
16 UK - Collaboration with public health organisations Understanding the impact on the illicit market of any health-related policy initiatives Regional programmes to tackle illicit tobacco Cross-government approach to illicit tobacco marketing & communications to shift public behaviour and attitudes to illicit tobacco and reduce demand drawing on expertise across the public sector how/when to target common audiences achieving wider reach through pooled resources
Help to keep tackling illicit tobacco on the local authority agenda 17 PUBLIC AWARENESS 18 WORKING WITH TRADE Policy makers and regulators need to build a comprehensive understanding of the legal & illegal trade in tobacco products Collecting & collating reliable and comprehensive data on the global size and scale of this trade is challenging
International best practice conventions, guidelines & standards on trade compliance & facilitation all encourage close public / private partnership 19 WORKING WITH TRADE Global supply chains are increasingly complex with highly complicated transport routes Industry is always best placed to know trade practices and international marketplacestobacco is no exception Ongoing dialogue between regulators and industry involved in the legal production, carriage,
storage and distribution of tobacco products is highly desirable 20 WORKING WITH TRADE International instruments to streamline and harmonize supply chain and tax management can bring greater transparency to government & trade practices Accurate collection & collation of trade and seizure data is vital for understanding the size and scale of illicit trade in tobacco products and designing appropriate whole of government and industry responses
21 HOW TO WORK WITH TRADE Transparency and integrity essential on both sides Consultation on policy/legislative change enables government to understand the full implications of proposals and industry to work with government to ensure changes support economic development Collaboration in information sharing, designing auditable business processes, record keeping & technology development
22 WORKING WITH PARTNERS INTERNATIONALLY The illicit trade in Tobacco Products is a global issue but often addressed regionally or nationally Trans National Criminal Networks know no borders or boundaries Criminal networks often involved with other forms of transnational crime and money laundering International exchange of information & intelligence across government agencies is critical to understanding & suppressing this trade
23 KEY ISSUES FOR IMPROVED INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION How can speedy and accurate responses be ensured to queries from another authority? How can data quality and security be assured for global
exchanges of information critical to investigations and prosecutions? How can a more comprehensive international approach and closer cooperation across borders and continents be achieved? What are the current legal barriers to international data exchange and international investigations/prosecutions? And how can they be removed? 24 OTHER ISSUES What Customs procedures are needed for: Free zone management of tobacco operations Under-bond movements Exports, including movements to point of
export? CONSISTENCY OF APPROACH WILL BE KEY TO SUCCESS WORLDWIDE THANK YOU 26
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