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Cigarette smuggling up to 8.3 pct in September (Novel Research)

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The cigarettes black market increased in Romania by 0.6 percentage points in September compared to July, to 8.3 pct of total consumption, according to data published by Novel Research on Sunday.

"In September 2021, the black market has remained relatively constant in most regions of the country. The largest increase in illegal trade in cigarettes was recorded in the northeast (5.5 p.p. compared to July 2021, to 25.7p.p.), the region continuing to be the most affected by smuggling. An increase of 2.1 p.p. up to 5.3 p.p. is also recorded in Bucharest. In the southern region, illegal trade fell by 3.1 percentage percentages in September to under 2 pct. In terms of the origin of products on the black market, "cheap whites" continue to hold the largest share, over 60 pct, although it is decreasing by 5.8 p.p.. The share of products from the Republic of Moldova decreases significantly by 7.3 percentage points to 5 pct, while Ukraine and Serbia are at 0 pct," Marian Marcu, General Manager of Novel Research, said.

The Customs Directorate-General (DGV) announces the continuation of actions to combat cigarette smuggling.

"Recently, a new center for the formation of canine teams, with funding from the budget, from OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office), as well as with the support of JTI (Japan Tobacco International) and BAT (British American Tobacco), is operating within the Romanian Customs. We want this center to be accredited by the World Customs Organization, so that we also have an international recognition and to be caught up in the training programs that the Organization carries out. The professionalism and efficiency of the canine teams of the Romanian Customs are recognized at national and international level. We are already carrying out collaborative actions in terms of training and control, with various law enforcement institutions in the country and abroad," the Director General of DGV, Marcel Simion Mutescu, said.

The representatives of the Border Police note that, in the first nine months of the year, approximately 2.5 million packages of smuggled cigarettes, with an approximate value of RON 30 million (rd EUR 6.1 million) as well as important quantities of tobacco, were detained for confiscation.

Also, with the help of the Economic Crime Investigation Directorate of the Romanian Police, this year, by the end of August, more than 68 tonnes of tobacco and more than 65 million cigarettes were removed from the black market, 71 pct more than in the same period of 2020.

In 2019, tobacco companies transferred to the state budget about EUR 3.6 billion, the equivalent of 1.6 pct of GDP, and in 2020, the tobacco sector became the most solid taxpayer for the Romanian state.

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