Source: Agenzia Giornalistica Italia

Editor’s Note: Translation courtesy of the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

(AGI) – Rome, September 28 – “In recent years, there has been an increase in the smuggling of foreign tobacco in those countries that apply a high level of taxation on tobacco,” Lieutenant Colonel Fabrizio Pisanelli, the Guardia di Finanza explained to AGI. As a result of the [financial] crisis and the need for an economic measure that is able to cope with the effects, Italy has revised the rate of VAT on foreign tobacco.

The cost of the package of ‘blondes’ in our country, therefore, becomes closer and closer to prices in the Netherlands (2.26 euros) and Germany (5.16 euros). Different matter for trade routes. According to the Guardia di Finanza, the VAT increase should not cause  the smugglers to change their routes: “The increase in the VAT to 21 per cent and took place a few days – says Pisanelli – but this should not lead changes to routes and destination markets of foreign tobacco smuggling. The smuggling of foreign tobacco has now taken on transnational dimensions and represents a phenomenon of great danger ‘social, economic, financial and tax – explained Pisanelli – able to subtract huge resources to the national budget and the European Union and to finance the activities in a relevant way ‘of criminal organizations, because of the enormous profits that can accrue. ”

From 2007 to 2010 our country, geographically strategic to the smuggling of tobacco in the rest of Europe, “has increased the number of seizures for about 300 tons per year,” said Lieutenant Colonel Pisanelli: “In early 2011, the Financial Police have seized 159 tons of tobacco for smuggling, and decreased by 26 percent over the same period of 2010 and 224 persons under arrest, a 4 percent more ‘than the same period last year “. The ‘gates’ through which pass the contraband tobacco in Italy are the largest port in the Adriatic ports (Trieste, Venice, Ancona and Bari), the Tyrrhenian Sea (Genoa, Cagliari, Naples and Gioia Tauro) and Ionian (Taranto) . But tobacco, still refers Pisanelli, “were also seized vans, buses or private cars near the borders of North East and highways that connect the storage areas with the end markets of Campania (Naples hinterland and Caserta), Apulia ( Bari and environs), Lombardy, Piedmont and Lazio. “


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