Cigarette smuggling on the fast rise

From: ActMedia (Romania)

The cigarette black market has increased very fast in July 2014, up to 17%, compared to 16.1%, in May and approximately 14% at the end of last year, according to the data provided by the company Novel Research. It is the highest level registered during the last three years. 

The North-Eastern Region continues to be the area mostly affected by the illicit cigarette trade, although this region of the country is the only one where the black market dropped in July (by 7.8 p.p., down to 34%). Significant increases are registered in Bucharest (plus 3.1 p.p., up to 15.8%) and in the West (plus 3 p.p. up to 26.1%). As related to the origin, according to the stamp applied on the pack, the “Cheap Whites” continue to have the highest rate on the black market, being on the rise compared to May (plus 11.2 p.p. up to 50.6%.). The products bearing stamps from Ukraine and Moldova continue to have significant rates (16.4% and respectively 20.8%), however, they are lower than in May”, has stated Marian Marcu, the Manager of the company Novel Research. 

The results of the Novel study have confirmed our warnings at the end of last year. Thus, ignoring the provisions of the tobacco taxation directive by the arbitrary indexation of the exchange rate used for the payment of the excise duty has not resulted in more revenues, but to losses for the State budget. This, in an election year. Given the accelerated increase rate of the black market, the authorities competent in fighting against smuggling are forced to make additional efforts to reduce the illicit cigarette trade, such efforts being also supported by the tobacco companies. During the period May-July, the General Customs Direction and the Border Police have developed, with JTI’s support, a public campaign, in the North-Eastern area of the country, which is mostly affected by the black market. The message of the campaign was transmitted in six North-Eastern Counties by media channels and informative materials, while in the most crowded markets from Suceava and Piatra-Neam? awareness campaigns were organized, with the direct involvement of the citizens. At the same time, the customs authorities in Romania and Moldova have initiated joint special operations at the border. Consequently, the North-Eastern region was the only one where a significant drop of the black market was registered during this period, compared to the rest of the areas of the country, where increases were noted”, has stated Gilda Lazar, Corporate Affairs & Communications Director at JTI Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria.

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