Imperial Tobacco announced today that it had signed a co-operation agreement with the European Commission and the member states of the European Union to jointly combat illicit trade in tobacco. Under the agreement Imperial Tobacco will work together with the European Commission and the law enforcement authorities of the member states to tackle the smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products. The agreement will strengthen cooperation in a number of areas and includes payments by Imperial Tobacco of USD 300 million (EUR 207 million) over twenty years to fund anti-illicit trade initiatives. Imperial Tobacco says it applies stringent controls to its global network of distributors and has a dedicated team of specialists who operate internationally in conjunction with governments and customs and excise authorities on a global scale to disrupt the manufacture and supply of illicit tobacco products. Imperial’s co-operation with the EU comes after Philip Morris International (PMI, 2004) Japan Tobacco International (JTI, 2007) and British American Tobacco (BAT, July 2010) had made similar commitments, each in connection with large amounts of money contributed by the cigarette manufacturers over the next years to finance the EU’s fight against fakes. PMI agreed to pay the EC USD 1 billion over 12 years, JTI has to pay the EC USD 400 million over 15 years, BAT will pay USD 200 million over the next twenty years. (ci)
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