Gibraltar And JTI Take Step Forward Against Illegal Trade Of Tobacco Products

The Government of Gibraltar/HM Customs Gibraltar has signed an agreement with JTI, Japan Tobacco International, to protect the legitimate trade in tobacco products and foster a “stable and transparent tobacco market in Gibraltar.”

The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the basis of a cooperation framework that includes the sharing of information and best practices, product authenticity identification and training to HM Customs on counterfeit recognition.

The signing ceremony has taken place today at the Wessex Lounge in Gibraltar International Airport in the presence of the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Mr John Rodriguez, Collector of Customs of H.M. Customs Gibraltar and Mr. Tom Osborne, JTI Iberia General Manager and members of the Anti-Illicit Trade Department of JTI.

The Chief Minister said: “We welcome the signing of this MOU with JTI as we are committed to working in partnership with the tobacco manufacturers to eradicate illicit trade in tobacco products. Illicit trade fosters further criminality across frontiers, unsociable behaviour and harms legitimate business. We continually review our procedures and legislation to ensure proper compliance with our laws and conditions of tobacco licences by all local entities involved in the tobacco business.”

Tom Osborne, General Manager of JTI Iberia, emphasised that “It is vital that an active cooperation between Governments and the Tobacco industry should exist in order to combat all forms of illicit trade. At JTI, we cultivate this cooperation with Governments and Law Enforcement bodies around the world. The illegal trade of tobacco products is an international pressing issue that impacts tax collection, the stability of the market and promotes disrespect for the law and disrupts public security.”

John Rodriguez, the Collector of Customs, added: “The MoU provides a framework of cooperation to tackle illicit tobacco activity. It entails training, the monitoring of markets, product identification and capacity building. It’s putting our tools at their disposal so that, if we seize any large quantities of tobacco, we can engage with JTI to identify the supply chain of these tobacco products.”