RAS AL KHAIMAH, 12th March, 2018 (WAM) — The Ras al-Khaimah Customs Department and Philip Morris International Management SA, PMI, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to take a firm stance against the illicit trade of tobacco products in the United Arab Emirates.
The agreement establishes a broad framework of activities required by both parties to combat the illicit trade and specifies the requirement of communicating awareness on it, efforts made to eliminate the occurrences, and successes in confiscation and discovery of illegally trafficked goods.
Dr. Mohammad A. Al Mehrezi, the Director-General of RAK Customs, stated, “The elimination of illicit goods, with specific reference to tobacco products under this MoU, is a top priority for the Customs Department. As a customs authority, we sit on the front lines of this ongoing fight. Illicit trade is a crime; it gives rise to even more unscrupulous acts and is a scourge on our nation. This MoU signed with Philip Morris International Management SA gives renewed vigour to take our efforts to the next level, and we look forward to delivering on this established framework.”
Tarkan Demirbas, Area Vice President Middle East, Philip Morris Management Services, said, “This MoU is one of many ways that we demonstrate our commitment to ending the illegal trade of tobacco products. We have also created an entity to spread awareness on the issue of illicit trade and dissolve the chain of illicit trade throughout the world PMI Impact. Combatting illicit trade in tobacco products, ITTP, is a key component of our sustainability programme. When we take a stand against illegal trade links, we are also voicing our opposition to combating corruption.”
Elaborating on the agreement, Tamer Shabana, Director of Illicit Trade Prevention Middle East at PMI, said, “Under this specific agreement with the RAK Customs Department, we will inspect detained products carrying the PMI trademark for authenticity and gather further information about ITTP in the country in order to measure the magnitude of the problem, assess the impact it is having on the community, and eventually create a solution.”
The goods that enter the nation illegally dampen government revenues. According to a recent study carried out by Interpol in 84 nations, 11.6 percent of cigarette consumption is through illicit trade, equating to 657 billion cigarettes per year, which costs governments roughly US$50 billion of tax revenue per year. In the UAE, it is estimated that ITTP accounts for $1 million of tax revenue per annum.