Victim or villain?

| November 14, 2017

A recent Transparency International report questions whether the tobacco industry is a victim or driver of corruption in South America, according to a story by Isabela Fernandez for the International Policy Digest, relayed by the TMA.

The report apparently examines the illegal trade in tobacco products and the lack of a robust and independent track and trace system.

The industry is said to lose almost 17 percent of its sales to the illegal trade each year.

And the illegal trade is expected to increase from its current level of 57 billion sticks annually, which will negatively affect tobacco manufacturers and have a significant impact on the collection of taxes.

The report alleges that the industry hampers regulations that could reduce smuggling and benefit revenue collection for the countries in the region.

Among the concerns raised are that the President of Paraguay is said to own the Cartesa Group, which allegedly produces most of the brands captured from smugglers.

In addition, the newly-appointed Chilean Finance Minister was said previously to have been the ‘president of British America Tobacco’, which had been accused of bribing governments in the past to influence tobacco legislation.

The report concludes that ‘the only way for Latin American countries to break free from the influence of Big Tobacco would be to create a fully independent track and trace system that would provide full transparency over each pack’s journey from factory to store shelf’.

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Category: Breaking News, Illicit trade, Markets, Regulation

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