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TRP-Swisher cut-rag venture

| July 1, 2014

Tobacco Rag Processors (TRP) and Swisher International are setting up a joint venture to operate, among other businesses, a cut-rag processing facility in the Dominican Republic. The cut-rag processing operation, TRP Dominicana (TPRD), will produce cut rag for cigar, cigarette and RYO customers in the Caribbean region and other nearby markets. TRP will manage TRPD and leverage its processing expertise as well as supply chain and administrative infrastructure.

“We are delighted to announce the formation of our new venture with Swisher International,” says Davis Miller, CEO of Tobacco Rag. “Swisher has been a valued customer and partner of Tobacco Rag Processors since our inception. TRP Dominicana is a meaningful piece of our long-term strategy of geographic and product diversification that further ensures our leadership position in the global cut-rag market.”

“The establishment of TRP Dominicana puts us in excellent position to serve the growing base of cigar manufacturers in the Dominican Republic and surrounding markets,” added Bobby Johnson, president of tobacco rag at TRP. Our local processing operation, combined with our global sourcing capabilities and dry ice expanded tobacco operation, will enable us to provide customers with high-quality tobacco blends that will reduce their finished-product costs.”

TRPD will be based in the industrial free zone of Santiago. Construction recently started and is expected to be completed later this year. Operations are expected to begin in the first half of 2015. In the meantime, TRP will continue to supply customers located in the Dominican Republic from its Wilson, North Carolina, USA, processing plant.


PMI seeking judicial review of EU’s TPD

| July 1, 2014

Subsidiaries of Philip Morris International have filed papers seeking review of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The TPD, which governs the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the member states concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products, entered into force on May 20 and member states are required to bring into force by May 20, 2016, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive.

“We believe that the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive disrupts the balance that the EU treaties establish between the union and the member states, said Marc Firestone, PMI’s senior vice president and general counsel.

“The directive claims to improve the internal market in tobacco products, but its provisions go in the opposite direction. The directive includes a mix of product bans, mandates and delegations of authority that raise serious questions under the EU treaties about consumer choice, the free movement of goods and competition.

“There is no disagreement that there should be strict regulation of tobacco products, but measures need to make sense and, above all, honor the EU treaties. We very much hope that this matter is referred to the EU’s highest court for a careful, objective review.”

PMI said in a note posted on its website on Sunday that it had filed its papers in the English courts, which had proven to be a fast and efficient forum for private litigants to obtain references to the CJEU on issues involving EU law.

“PMI is seeking review,” it said, “of whether the directive complies with the EU treaties in the following areas:

* Legal Competence: The EU has power to take measures that are genuinely intended to improve the internal market. PMI contends that several provisions in the Directive run counter that objective. For example, the Directive bans menthol cigarettes—a product that is currently legal in all 28 Member States. By making it illegal for adult smokers in the EU to purchase the product they prefer, the Directive disrupts the internal market and creates incentives for illicit trade.

* Fundamental Rights: The Directive appears to ban truthful and non-misleading claims on the packaging of tobacco products. PMI intends to seek review of whether this ban respects the fundamental rights of consumers to information about the products they are choosing.

* Delegated Acts: The Directive delegates a number of powers to the Commission to enact rules on essential aspects of the Directive. PMI intends to seek review of whether these delegations comply with the EU Treaties.”

PMI said that the review process was expected to take “up to two to three years.”

Final consultation on standardized packs

| July 1, 2014

The U.K. government has issued a consultation on the introduction of regulations for standardized packaging of tobacco products.

This is the second and final consultation to be held but the first following the publication of draft regulations.

The consultation is due to close on Aug. 7.

In responding to the government’s announcement, Imperial Tobacco said the government had already consulted the public, at which time 64 percent of more than 600,000 respondents had said they were against standardized packaging.

“The so-called ‘evidence’ in favor of plain packs is so threadbare that legislating would make a mockery of the government’s commitment to better regulation,” the company said in a note posted on its website.

“The government is ignoring what’s happening in Australia, which is the only country to introduce plain packaging, in December 2012.

“The evidence from Australia is clear. KPMG reports show there has been no reduction in the number of people smoking but there has been an increase in illicit trade, from 11.8 percent of total consumption in 2012 to 13.9 percent in 2013.

“Furthermore, the Australian government is going to conduct its own review of plain packaging in December 2014.

“Imperial Tobacco will be highlighting the lack of evidence in our submission to this consultation.”

Meanwhile, Simon Clark, the director of Forest, which runs the Hands off Our Packs campaign (, said standardized packaging was another step toward the infantilization of Britain.

“If the consultation is to have any meaning, ministers must keep an open mind. The impact of plain packaging on retailers and consumers could be extremely damaging.

“Evidence suggests that standardized packaging could lead to the U.K. being flooded with fake cigarettes.

“A decision to introduce plain packaging must be based on hard evidence that the policy will stop children smoking. Conjecture and subjective opinion are not enough when the risks are so high.”

Clark said the government should take into account also a previous consultation that attracted over 650,000 responses, with over 425,000 people opposed to plain packaging and 238,000 in favor.

“In recent weeks thousands of people have signed a letter to the prime minister urging him to say no to plain packaging (

“The government must take into account the strongly held views of ordinary consumers.”

Clark urged consumers and retailers to support Forest’s No, Prime Minister Initiative.

“Via our microsite, you can write direct to Downing Street and register your opposition to plain packaging. It takes no more than a minute of your time.”

Eviction threat for elderly German smoker

| July 1, 2014

An elderly man must vacate his home of about 40 years after a German court upheld complaints by neighbors about his cigarette smoke, according to an Agence France Presse report.

Friedhelm Adolfs, 75, has until the end of the year to clear his flat in the western city of Düsseldorf after his appeal against a previous court decision failed.

The city’s district court said that smoking by a tenant in a flat was not grounds by itself for eviction.

But it said the pensioner had not tried to prevent cigarette smoke from seeping into the communal hallway of the apartment building.

And he had failed adequately to air his flat and empty his ashtrays, it said.

The man could still take his case to the federal court of justice.

Call for cigarettes to be priced at €1 each

| July 1, 2014

Ireland’s minister for health, James Reilly, has called for the price of cigarettes to be increased to €1 each or €20 a pack, more than twice the current price, according to The Irish Times.

Unveiling his latest move in the war on tobacco, Reilly said this would ensure that people “think long and hard before they drag long and hard.”

A pack of 20 cigarettes costs about €9.40, according to the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee.

Imperial links with Ivory Coast college

| July 1, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has signed an agreement in the Ivory Coast to train students from a technical college as manufacturing operators.

“The scheme will enable students to use the skills they learn in the classroom at facilities operated by our subsidiary SITAB Industries,” according to a note posted on the company’s website.

“Up to four trainees a year on [a] dedicated course being taught by the National Institute Polytechnic Houphouet Boigny in Yamoussoukro will be taken on at our Bouake factory.”

A three-year partnership agreement was signed by Jacques Bouende, lead factory manager West and Central Africa, and the institute’s director general, N’Guessan Koffi.

“This is a great way to support our vision of the factory becoming a manufacturing center for learning for West and Central Africa,” said Bouende.

“It represents a real opportunity to identify and recruit the best students locally and invest in the future of our business.”

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