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EU strategy to step up fight against illicit tobacco trade

EU News 274/2013

Brussels, 6 June 2013

Today the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive package to step up its fight against illicit tobacco trade, especially cigarette smuggling. The illicit tobacco trade is a global threat depriving Member States and the EU of over €10 billion revenue every year in terms of unpaid taxes and duties.  Not only does this hit national revenues hard, illicit trade also fuels the shadow economy since it is almost exclusively the domain of organised criminal groups operating across borders. Furthermore, it also undermines health policy initiatives aimed at discouraging the consumption of tobacco products and legitimate business as most illicit products are not made in line with EU rules on tobacco products. To effectively tackle the problem of illicit tobacco trade, the Commission's strategy sets out a number of coordinated measures at national, EU and international level.


The strategy proposes specific actions in 4 key areas to efficiently tackle the illicit trade in tobacco products:

- Measures to decrease incentives for smuggling activities
- Measures to improve the security of the supply chain
- Stronger enforcement of tax, customs, police and border authorities; and
- Heavier sanctions for smuggling activities


Source and additional information:

File Photo: Algirdas Semeta Date: 06/06/2013 Reference: P-023450/00-08 Location: Brussels - EC/Berlaymont (C)EU, 2013 URL