Contraband of tobacco products is a significant problem; it is equally damaging governments, consumers and legitimate businesses.
Scale of contraband has increased for last decade worldwide fueling other illegal activities, JTI office in Azerbaijan said.
Unfortunately, Azerbaijan is also affected by this problem, with quite high levels of duty non-paid (DNP) products moving within the market.
To have better understanding about the scale of the problem in Azerbaijan JTI contracted Nielsen to conduct its first Empty Pack Survey (EPS) back in Q3 2015. Then, the survey established the AIT level at 6.2%. Continued assessment in Q1, Q2 and Q3 revealed the figure at 12.6%, 15.1% and 11.8%.
The EPS surveys are conducted under supervision of Nielsen (global information, data and measurement company with headquarters in the United States) and provide accurate data about the existing challenge. Surveys provide good source of information to reveal and better tackle the problem of contraband tobacco in Azerbaijan.
As already noted, Illicit Trade is a complex problem, often evolving into the much larger criminal activities such as corruption, organized crime and even terrorism and human trafficking. It cannot be dealt alone and requires active cooperation between the private and public sectors. JTI worldwide takes an active role in providing support to governments, regulators and law enforcers by sharing information and developing specific training and capability development programs.
JTI is actively supporting local authorities in fighting contraband of tobacco products, therefore anti-illicit trade program was specifically developed for the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan.
JTI invited international experts to deliver training courses on fighting illegal tobacco. Presentations and knowledge have been delivered in Baku, Quba, Lankaran and Tovuz for customs officials. Training program was delivered to all the customs officers working at the border with Russia, Iran and Georgia. In 2015, JTI also invited five officials from the State Customs Committee to counterfeit identification training in Trier, Germany.
“At JTI, we firmly believe that we have managed to raise awareness on the problem of contraband and are supporting state authorities in development of necessary skills and capabilities to tackle existing threat effectively”, JTI said.
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