From Belize to Montenegro, Free Trade Zones Fuel the Trade in Illicit Tobacco

Editor’s Note: See also Corozal Free Zone Supports Money Laundering and Cigarette Smuggling in Belize.

From: European Parliament, Parliamentary questions

Question for written answer to the Commission
Rule 130
Ana Gomes (S&D)

Subject:  Montenegro and the illicit trade in tobacco products

The Commission’s Montenegro 2018 report(1) highlights the continuing issues surrounding illicit tobacco products entering the EU from the free trade zone at the port of Bar and OLAF’s cooperation with national customs authorities with a view to controlling the flow of illegal products.

Media reports confirm that the Government of Montenegro has authorised a new free trade zone in Podgorica to begin operations. The Podgorica free trade zone is all the more concerning as it contains a cigarette factory, which reportedly began production trials in late May 2018. These developments present a new threat which could result in an increase in the number of cigarettes being smuggled into the EU from Montenegro.

Can the Commission confirm that it is aware of the establishment of a new free trade zone in Podgorica?

Can it provide details of the measures it intends to take with the Montenegrin authorities to put in place adequate controls on the flow of products from the new cigarette factory located in the new free trade zone in Podgorica?

Can it indicate how the illicit trade in tobacco products will be addressed in the context of the accession negotiations on Montenegro’s candidature to join the EU?


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