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European Commission and British American Tobacco sign agreement to combat illicit trade in tobacco
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15/07/2010 00:00:00

Today the European Commission announced a multi-year agreement with British American Tobacco (BAT) to work together in tackling the illicit trade in tobacco products. Under the legally binding agreement, BAT will work with the European Commission, its anti-fraud office OLAF, and Member States’ law enforcement authorities to help in the fight against contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. The Agreement includes substantial payments by BAT to the Commission and Member States, totalling USD 200 million (EUR 134 million, GBP 112 million) over the next 20 years. It should make a significant contribution to the EU’s efforts to fight the illicit tobacco trade, which robs the EU and Member States of billions of Euros every year.

Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: “I welcome this important agreement, which will help to protect the EU’s financial interests and strengthen our forces against contraband and counterfeit cigarettes.”

Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit, Algirdas Ĺ emeta said: “The illicit trade in cigarettes results in billions of euros of lost tax and customs revenue every year. Particularly at this time of economic difficulty, we must take every measure we can to stop this costly illegal activity. Today’s agreement will help greatly in combating the illegal trade in cigarettes and will send a strong signal to criminals that they have both the authorities and industry working against them.”


    It is estimated that the EU and Member States lose up to 10 billion euro in unpaid taxes every year from counterfeit and smuggled tobacco products.

    The Commission and Member States already have similar agreements to the one signed today with PMI (IP/04/882) and JTI (IP/071927).


    More details: MEMO/10/334

    The Agreement:


    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.

    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

    Last update: 31/10/2010  |Top