NEGOTIATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL PROTOCOL ON ILLICIT TRADE IN TOBACCO PRODUCTS PUT ON TRACK

OLAF /07/09 Brussels, 6 July 2007

At the end of a week long session in Bangkok, Thailand, the Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, today adopted a decision to start negotiations to elaborate a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) welcomes this important step which will facilitate its investigative and operational activities in the fight against cigarette smuggling.

OLAF believes that this landmark decision represents a significant step forward in the international fight against the illicit trade in tobacco products. It will contribute to further facilitate the investigative and operational activities of OLAF and its operational partners in the EU Member States. The illicit trade in tobacco products seriously impacts on the budget of the European Community and the Member States of the European Union.

OLAF confirms that it will continue to fully support the elaboration of the protocol on illicit trade and will participate in the intergovernmental negotiating body, which has been established to negotiate and draft a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the first global health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). It was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic and does not only cover health aspects but also addresses the international problem of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. The Convention entered into force on 27 February 2005. Currently there are 148 Parties to this Convention.

For more information on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/en/

Alessandro Butticé
Head of Spokesman, Communication and PRUnit
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.54.25
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.81.01
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