Delegation from China gets first-hand account of US’ counterfeit problem

| September 19, 2012

A delegation fromChinais inRichmond,Virginia, on a fact-finding mission to lay the groundwork for future efforts against tobacco-products counterfeiting, according to localUSreports relayed by the TMA and Tobacco China Online.

The Chinese officials, including representatives of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, the Provincial Tobacco Monopoly Administration’s enforcement division and the General Administration of Customs, were due to meet with representatives of Philip Morris USA and the Altria Group, and local, state and federal law enforcement officials inNew York.

Michael Thorne-Begland, director of brand integrity for Altria, was quoted as saying that his company’s experience had been that most counterfeit Marlboros came fromChina.

Millions of packs of counterfeit cigarettes are illegally shipped into theUSevery year to be sold on the black market, primarily in urban areas with relatively high cigarette taxes, such asNew York   City.

Although counterfeit Marlboros made in Chinaare produced in what Thorne-Begland described as completely unregulated and unsanitary conditions, the counterfeiters have developed highly accurate reproductions of the brand’s packaging.

Thorne-Begland said that Altria had been working with Chinese officials for several years to tackle the problem, but that this was the first time a delegation had traveled from China to the US specifically to discuss cigarette counterfeiting.

“We think it shows their willingness to continue to work with US industry to fight counterfeit cigarette trafficking,” Thorne-Begland added.

Category: Breaking News

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