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Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the General Directorate of Customs and Phillip Morris International
General Directorate of Customs and Company Phillip Morris International signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the framework of the fight against illicit trade of tobacco.
This Agreement establishes a comprehensive framework for cooperation in the fight against illegal trade and minimizes the obstacles faced by legitimate operators. This framework of cooperation includes exchange of best practices, training for Customs officers to identify the cigarette smuggling, exchange of information collected through market monitoring as well as awareness campaigns among the general public about this phenomenon with serious social and economic consequences.
Present at the signing ceremony, the Minister of Finances, Mr. Arben AHMETAJ said that: "The fight against informality and illicit trade; and tobacco, as one of the industries that is constantly affected by this phenomenon, are under a special focus of the Government. Only in the past two years we have carried out a number of actions, especially regarding the excise goods that resulted in the closure of several illegal factories, seizures of substantial amounts of tobacco and termination of illegal production chains and supply of these products.
In addition, we are implementing responsible fiscal policies and as a result, the revenue collected from tobacco and its products have risen by almost 17%. The expected result of declaration of the imported cigarettes with approximately 500 tons more than last year, is definitely an indication of the success of the fiscal administration "- said the Minister who encouraged the cooperation Government-Enterprise to advance in the fight against illegitimacy in the economy.
General Director of Customs, Ms. Belinda IKONOMI said that: "Customs Administration has been engaged since a long time monitoring the situation for this phenomenon, but I am sure that with the finalization of this Agreement today, we will have very soon measurable results. I also want to assure you that the Albanian Customs Administration has all the willingness to be on the side of the fair business to fight the unfair competition and to strengthen step by step and more and more the cooperation with the economic operators in all sectors. Therefore, I encourage any operator to cooperate and build together such a partnership in the fight against illegitimacy and to support the free and fair competition".
Roman KHRUSHCH, General Manager of Philip Morris Albania, said that: "Albanian Government is doing a satisfactory job in combating this phenomenon and the positive results are evident in 2016. However, if we want to be successful in this battle, we must be together in the search and implementation of all possible strategies. By signing this agreement, Philip Morris, as a responsible tobacco company, shows its commitment to support all activities that will be conducted by the Albanian Customs and it will provide all the necessary support in the efforts to fight the illegal trade of tobacco products”.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding will enable through mutual exchange of information that the fight against illicit trade of tobacco products will be more efficient, as long as this kind of cooperation is essential to identify, prevent and combat illicit trade of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
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