Press Release

Anti-Illicit Trade Taskforce to combat illegal trade of cigarettes in PNG

10/08/2018

One of the initiatives that the Papua New Guinea government has put in place which the British American Tobacco (BAT PNG) highly commends is to set up an Anti-Illicit Trade Taskforce to combat the illegal trade of cigarettes into PNG.

One of the initiatives that the Papua New Guinea government has put in place which the British American Tobacco (BAT PNG) highly commends is to set up an Anti-Illicit Trade Taskforce to combat the illegal trade of cigarettes into PNG.

External Affairs Manager of BAT PNG Limited David Towe in his presentation on “Illegal trade in tobacco products: The Tobacco Industry’s experience” at the Sub Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) Dialogue in Port Moresby, highlighted a few recommendations to combat the illegal trade of cigarettes.

The dialogue was part of cluster of meetings in the APEC Third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3) currently underway in Port Moresby.

Stimulating discussion on priority area number two on promoting inclusive and sustainable growth and priority number three, strengthening inclusive economic growth through structural reform, Mr Towe highlighted the urgency to start amending legislation to effectively penalize offenders.

According to Mr Towe, there is work to be done between business and government to review the penalty provisions that apply with the laws that regulate international trade across the board.

“The trademark infringement is a key one, our trademark is our business, business rely on their trademark to do their business and we expect government to protect our trademark.

“BAT as the major manufacturer and distributor of tobacco in PNG believes that one-third of the cigarette industry is illegal, that equates to about 600 million sticks of cigarettes is illegally imported and sold.

“And that 600 million sticks equates to some 150 million kina in lost excise tax and revenue to the government and people of Papua New Guinea.

“Hundred and fifty million kina is a lot of money that can do a lot for our mothers and children out there in the communities. It goes to show that we still have work to do.

“We’ve done very good work but we still have more work to do and in partnership with business, we at BAT are very willing to work with the government,” said Mr Towe.

The BAT presentation stimulated interesting feedback from member economies particularly from PNG’s neighbour Indonesia, who shared their experience and offered suggestions on ways to create appropriate entities to effectively implement legislation pertaining to illegal importation of illegal items.