Breaking News

Tobacco carve-out from TPP agreement discussed

| August 17, 2015

Even though negotiators who are trying to finalize the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seem to be in general agreement that tobacco products will have to be treated differently to other products, a case is being made in support of treating leaf tobacco in the same was as other agricultural commodities are treated, according to a story by Adam Behsudi for, relayed by the TMA.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to have written to US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman saying Froman should ‘not set a new precedent for future US trade negotiations by negatively carving out a specific American agricultural commodity – in this case tobacco’ – from the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision.

The TPP, which has come under fire from a wide range of organizations in a number of countries, is being negotiated in secret by representatives of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

Not much is known about the TPP negotiations because of the strict secrecy surrounding them and the little information that has emerged has been courtesy of Wikileaks. But it is understood that the ISDS mechanisms have comprised one of the most controversial issues and have been condemned by some politicians as being anything from a charter for big corporations to rip off taxpayers to an attack on democracy.

Behsudi quoted an unnamed source as saying “USTR was clear tobacco had to be treated differently and there was general agreement on that” at last month’s TPP talks in Hawaii.

But another source was quoted as saying the trade partners had made reference solely to manufactured tobacco products and not to leaf tobacco.

Behsudi quoted sources close to the talks as saying Froman reportedly discussed a proposed tobacco ‘carve-out’ with some countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, during last month’s TPP meeting in Hawaii.

Flavored products to disappear in Bermuda wrangle

| August 17, 2015

Bermuda’s forthcoming anti-tobacco measures have been described as draconian and possibly the strictest in the world, according to a story by Jonathan Bell for The Royal Gazette.

Smoke Shop proprietor Michael Heslop was quoted as saying that no other country was banning as many products as Bermuda was planning to ban. He said that, under the provisions of the Tobacco Control Bill 2015, he would have to remove 161 products from his shelves.

Heslop’s main concern seems to be that whereas other countries are banning only flavored cigarettes, Bermuda is poised to ban all flavored tobacco products and related materials, including shisha, tobacco wraps, tobacco rolling papers, blunts, cigarillos and bidis.

Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health, is on record as saying that the new requirements contained in the bill are in line with World Health Organization protocols.

The new regulations are expected to come into force in December.

UAE plans introduction of new federal taxes

| August 17, 2015

The government of the United Arab Emirates has drawn up plans to introduce federal value-added tax (VAT) and corporation tax, according to a story in The National citing its Arabic-language sister paper, Al Ittihad.

This would make the UAE the first country in the Arabian Gulf to introduce such a tax on consumption.

Under the plans, VAT would be levied at a higher rate on tobacco, alcohol and luxury goods, while basic goods and essentials would be exempt.

The government did not specify what the VAT rate would be, but the IMF has previously recommended that the UAE set it at, or about, five percent.

It is not known when the government would introduce VAT, though it is understood that companies and consumers would be given up to two years to adjust to VAT.

The government plans also to introduce a corporation tax, but no details were provided. The UAE currently levies corporation tax on foreign banks’ operations in the country.

The Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for federal tax collection and government accounts, was quoted as saying that it had finished drafting laws providing for a federal tax system, in addition to legislation to introduce VAT and corporation tax.

It is likely, however, to be some time before the proposals become law. High-profile legislation has to be shuttled between all interested government departments, before it is scrutinised by the Federal National Council, approved by the Federal Supreme Council, and signed by President Sheikh Khalifa.

The move comes as Gulf states address a new era of low oil prices. Oil has fallen from about $115 per barrel in June last year to about $50 per barrel now, cutting government revenues by about 20 percent against 2013 levels.

JT’s domestic volume down in July

| August 17, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc’s domestic cigarette sales volume during July, at 9.8 billion, was down by 2.7 percent on that of July 2014, 10.0 billion, according to preliminary figures issued by the company on Friday. The July 2014 figure was down by 4.4 percent on that of July 2013.

Volume during January-July, at 62.8 billion, was down by 3.5 percent on that of January-July 2014, 65.1 billion, which was down by 2.2 percent on that of January-July 2013.

JT’s market share stood at 59.7 percent during July, at 59.9 percent during January-July, and at 60.4 percent during January-December 2014.

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue during July, at ¥55.3 billion, was down by 2.9 percent from its July 2014 level, ¥56.9 billion, which was down by 1.2 percent on its revenue of July 2013.

Revenue during January-July, at ¥356.1 billion, was down by 2.0 percent on that of January-July 2014, ¥363.3 billion, which was down by 0.7 percent on its revenue of January-July 2013.

Imperial providing clean water for 2,400 in Chad

| August 17, 2015

Chad pictureImperial Tobacco’s Altadis Foundation has signed an agreement with Imperial’s subsidiary in Chad, Manufacture de Cigarettes du Tchad (MCT) to provide clean drinking water for rural communities.

In collaboration with MCT, the foundation is funding the construction of wells that will bring clean water to about 2,400 people in the rural communities of Aboudeïa, Ham and Kana1, according to a note posted on Imperial’s website.

At the same time, the foundation is setting up local committees to ensure that the new infrastructure is maintained.

Overall, the initiative is expected to reduce the risk of disease related to poor water quality.

“Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world and only about 55 percent of its population has access to clean drinking water, said Hervé Lambert-Moisan, general manager of MCT. “This rewarding project will improve lives and help to reduce poverty.”

Decline of Basmi production

| August 13, 2015

Bulgaria’s National Association of Tobacco Producers expects the output of Basmi tobacco to decline by about 3,000 metric tons to 10,000 mt in the 2015 season due to a reduction in acreage and a dry summer in the main cultivating areas of southern Bulgaria.

white cloud cigarettes

pattyn banner

itm banner