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Third China Cigar Festival imminent

| October 14, 2014

Cigar Ambassador is to hold its 2014 China Cigar Festival at Shanghai on October 27-31.

This, the third such festival, will start on October 27 with a welcome party.

It will include sessions on China’s cigar market, cigar trade and the management of cigar shops and clubs.

It will see the opening of the first exhibition of the Cigar Ambassador Collection, and it will feature a salon for women cigar aficionados, a workshop on cigar rolling and various tasting sessions.

And it will end with a session entitled ‘China Big Smoke’.

Hesse joins Global Laboratory Services

| October 13, 2014

Kimberly Hesse has joined Global Laboratory Services as business development manager. She brings with her a solid marketing and advertising background plus six years of experience in the tobacco laboratory industry. Global Laboratory Services offers analytical testing in crop protection agents, e-cigarettes, and smoke (HPHCs).


OLAF-led operation seizes counterfeit goods and 130 million illicit cigarettes

| October 13, 2014

More than 1.2 million counterfeit goods and 130 million cigarettes have seized during a two-week international joint customs operation co-ordinated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

According to a European Commission press note, the operation, code-named REPLICA, targeted the import of counterfeit goods by sea.

‘Under the co-ordination of OLAF, customs authorities carried out targeted physical or X-ray controls on several hundred selected containers,’ the press note said.

‘These checks uncovered a wide array of counterfeit goods including cigarettes, perfumes, car and bicycle spare parts, toys, fashion accessories and electric devices.

‘The seizures of cigarettes alone prevented the loss of €25 million in customs duties and taxes. In fact, the amount of cigarettes seized is equivalent to what 17 000 people, [each] smoking a packet a day, would consume in a year.

‘In terms of overall seizures in this operation, the value of the equivalent genuine products is estimated to be over €65 million.’

Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner responsible for customs and anti-fraud said operation REPLICA had shown what could be achieved when customs authorities, international partners and industry worked together to fight fakes.

“Counterfeit goods defraud consumers, harm legitimate businesses and cause huge losses to public revenues,” he said. “Counterfeit cigarettes also undermine public health policies. When fakes flood our markets, the only ones to benefit are fraudsters and criminals. I warmly congratulate all those that participated in Operation REPLICA for the excellent results.”

The Commission press note said that operation REPLICA had been organised within the ‘Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) framework’ as part of joint efforts in the fight against counterfeit goods.

‘During the operational phase of REPLICA, OLAF facilitated the co-operation between all the EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland, 11 international partners, Interpol, Europol and the World Customs Organisation,’ the note said. ‘The operation was co-ordinated by OLAF with the support of a team of eleven liaison officers from the EU Member States and China, all working together in Brussels. It was the first time that a Chinese Customs Liaison Officer worked from the operational headquarters at OLAF.

‘A Virtual Operational Co-ordination Unit (VOCU) – a brand new secure communication channel for such joint customs operations – was used to channel the flow of incoming information.

‘A number of legitimate rights-holders also provided a valuable contribution in the targeting of the goods covered by the operation and this led to several successful seizures. The close co-operation with the rights holders will be further explored by OLAF especially for products posing a danger to the health and safety of citizens or potentially harmful for the environment.

‘Most international EU ports were also involved during the two-week period, providing support for checking the containers.

‘The exchange of information in real time allowed all the experts involved to identify the suspect flows of counterfeit goods out of ordinary commercial transactions.’

France aims for plain packs by 2016

| October 13, 2014

France is due to introduce standardized packaging for cigarettes in 2016, according to an Agence France Presse report citing an announcement by Health Minister Marisol Touraine on Wednesday.

In the wake of the introduction of standardized tobacco packs in Australia, Touraine initially announced a raft of measures last month to tackle smoking.

One of the main planks of the strategy was standardized packaging, which “should be in tobacconists at the beginning of the year 2016″, the minister told French radio.

Potentially reduced risk products now in production at PMI plant near Bologna

| October 13, 2014

Philip Morris International on Friday officially opened its first pilot plant for the production of potentially reduced-risk products (RRPs).

The pilot plant, at Zola Predosa about 11 km west of Bologna, Italy, is now in operation.

Meanwhile, PMI’s first manufacturing facility for larger scale production of RRPs, which is currently under construction in Crespellano, about 15 km west of Bologna, is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016.

‘Together the factories represent an investment of up to €500 million and the creation of 600 jobs,’ PMI said in a note posted on its website. ‘Combined annual production capacity is expected to reach up to 30 billion units.’

“This is a historic milestone in PMI’s strategic commitment to harm reduction by bringing to market potentially reduced-risk products,” said CEO André Calantzopoulos. “Our decision to invest in Bologna and in Italy reflects our confidence in the potential of our new technologies and our belief that these innovations represent a potential paradigm shift for our industry, public health and adult smokers.”

Eugenio Sidoli, president and MD of Philip Morris Italy said that with this investment in Bologna PMI was further expanding its long-standing presence in Italy and re-affirming its commitment to the local economy. “I am confident that with the great infrastructure available in the region, and above all, the exceptional talent and commitment of our employees, Italy will continue to be a significant pillar of PMI’s success.”

‘The pilot plant inauguration and the progress on construction of the new factory were celebrated during an event held in Zola Predosa, attended by more than 200 guests, including Prime Minister Renzi and other government representatives, Members of Parliament, representatives of regional authorities and employees,’ the PMI note said.

‘The event opened with the “signature of the first stone” by Prime Minister Renzi, André Calantzopoulos and Eugenio Sidoli. The stone will become part of PMI’s first factory in Crespellano which will produce potentially reduced-risk products on a larger scale for Italy and for other markets around the world.

‘The pilot plant, which was built in less than a year, has resulted in the creation of approximately 50 new jobs to date and will serve as the production facility for pilot city tests and initial market launches. It is now fully operational and has already completed the first production cycle that will supply PMI’s first pilot city tests in Milan, Italy and Nagoya, Japan later this year.’

European Court agrees with Yesmokes

| October 13, 2014

The European Court of Justice on Thursday rejected Italy’s application of higher excise duties on cheaper cigarettes, according to an AGI (Agenzia Giornalistica Italia) news agencystory.

The ruling ends the legal action initiated by the Italian tobacco group Yesmokes, which sells cigarettes in Italy at lower prices than the most popular brands.

Italy has since 2012 imposed on cheaper cigarettes a higher excise duty set at 115 per cent of that levied on the best selling brands.

The Court ruled in favour of the appeal by Yesmokes, saying the increased duty was contrary to European rules.

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