Belarus upping production

| January 18, 2018

A Lithuanian member of the EU Parliament has asked whether the European External Action Service (EEAS) is going to address the issue of cigarettes manufactured in Belarus being sold in EU member states.

In a preamble to her questions, Laima Liucija Andrikienė said the government of Belarus had recently announced that a private investor would increase the manufacturing capabilities of the Grodno Tobacco factory.

According to the announcement, the increase in production was due to start in January 2018, in response to a growing demand for Belarusian cigarette brands.

The EU was among the target markets.

The MEP alleged that Belarusian cigarette brands manufactured at the Grodno factory were smuggled into more than 20 member states where they could not be legally sold.

They already represented around EUR1 billion in yearly tax losses.

Andrikienė asked:

  1. Will the EEAS address this issue with the government of Belarus?
  2. Will the EEAS request information about the member state markets on which Belarusian cigarette brands can legally be sold and how the exports will be tracked to avoid ruptures in the supply chain?
  3. Will the EEAS point out that low taxes applied in Belarus on cigarettes are the incentive for smuggling into the EU?

The EU Commission is due to answer these questions in writing.

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Category: Breaking News, Illicit trade, Markets, Tax

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