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Vietnam asked to delay raising taxes

| June 23, 2014

The Vietnam Tobacco Association (VTA) has asked the government to delay raising the excise tax on tobacco until smuggling has been “considerably” reduced, according to the news website VnEconomy.

The association made its recommendation after both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health proposed increasing the tobacco tax to 105 percent of the per-pack retail price from the current 65 percent, saying that the move was needed to curb smoking in Vietnam.

Vu Van Tien, deputy director general of the Vietnam National Tobacco Corp., was quoted as saying that local businesses faced huge problems caused by rampant smuggling.

Increasing the excise tax would only exacerbate smuggling given that Vietnamese people were all tightening their belts, he said.

Vu suggested also that the government consider ending its practice of exporting confiscated tobacco, claiming the measure had yet to prove effective.

The practice began as a pilot project in August 2012 after local governments complained that they lacked the funds to seize and destroy smuggled tobacco. So to offset those costs, the government allowed these localities to export high-quality tobacco that they’d seized from smugglers.

During its recent announcement, the trade association offered to support various agencies in fighting tobacco smuggling by providing a bounty of VND3,500 for every pack of smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes seized by the local authorities.

Imperial supplying emergency food aid

| June 23, 2014

Imperial Tobacco is helping support victims of the continuing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) with emergency food aid.

In a note posted this morning on its website, Imperial said an estimated 140,000 people had been affected by the civil war that began last year, with many taking refuge from the fighting either in the capital, Bangui, or in neighboring Chad.

The company’s subsidiaries, Socacig in the CAR and MCT in Chad, had asked the Altadis Foundation for help in supporting the relief effort currently underway.

As a result, donations totalling €11,200 were paying for staple foodstuffs such as rice, milk, sugar and oil to be distributed through local agencies.

“The situation affecting the CAR has become a humanitarian disaster not only for this country but also for its neighbours,” said Ines Cassin, the foundation’s general manager.

“In such cases, the foundation’s remit is to help meet the emergency needs of the victims and alleviate their suffering.”

New packs make a stand for phone users

| June 20, 2014

South Korea’s KT&G said yesterday it had launched four cigarette packs that can be used as smartphone stands, according to a story in the Korea Joong Ang Daily.

The “smart pack” packs are being used with four versions of the company’s Tonino Lamborghini brand.

KT&G said the new design was an idea suggested by customers on its website.

The smart packs comprised a good example of how KT&G listened to its customers and used their suggestions to improve its products, said Kwon Min-seok, head of the company’s branding team.

Zimbabwe auctions to end next week

| June 20, 2014

Flue-cured tobacco deliveries in Zimbabwe are expected to have passed the 200 million kg mark by the time the 2014 sales season ends, according to a story in the Herald quoting the Marketing Board’s CEO, Andrew Matibiri.

The country’s auction floors are due to close on June 27, earlier than usual despite the big crop, though a clean-up sale will be held on July 15.

The early closure of the auctions is down to the high level of deliveries being received at contract floors, where, according to a report earlier this year, prices have been better than those on offer at auction and where some growers not under contract have been selling their tobacco.

Contract sales will continue until further notice.

The latest marketing board figures show that 194 million kg of flue cured had been sold for $619 million since the opening of the selling season in February.

At the same stage of last year’s selling season, 147 million kg of tobacco had been sold for $543 million.

The average price this year, at US$3.19 per kg, is down by more than 13 percent on that of the previous year, US$3.69.

By the end of the 2013 season, 166 million kg of tobacco had been sold.

Taiwan cracks down on e-cigarettes

| June 20, 2014

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday warned the public against using e-cigarettes, which are prohibited in the country, according to a story in the Taipei Times.

The import or manufacture of these products constitutes a violation of pharmaceutical regulations and is punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

All of the e-cigarettes on the market were illicit because no permits allowing the manufacture or import of such products had been issued, said the FDA’s Northern Center section head, Wu Ming-mei, at a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Wu said 525 agency people had inspected online stores, night markets and drug stores nationwide between March and last month in an effort to crack down on sales of e-cigarettes.

The agency had discovered 43 e-cigarettes, 28 of which had contained nicotine, seven of which did not contain nicotine and did not claim any therapeutic effects, four of which were being examined by local health departments and four of which had been referred to prosecutors for investigation, Wu said.

Thirty-seven of the 43 prohibited products were sold online, Wu added.

PMI to webcast Investor Day sessions

| June 20, 2014

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast at www.pmi.com/2014InvestorDay of senior management presentations and Q&A sessions at its 2014 Investor Day, which will be held at its OperationsCenter in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 26–27.

The presentations and Q&A sessions will be webcast live on both days in listen-only mode beginning about 9 a.m. Swiss time and ending about 5:45 p.m. on June 26; and beginning about 10 a.m. and ending about 12:45 p.m. on June 27.

A copy of the remarks and slides will be made available at the start of each presentation at www.pmi.com/2014InvestorDay.

An archive of the webcast will be available until July 25.

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