For many manufacturers, counterfeiting and smuggling are major issues. We work hard, in liaison with the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and customs authorities, to try to eliminate contraband and counterfeit products.
However, only governments can tackle these effectively, through reasonable and sustainable taxation policies, improved border controls, adequate laws and effective enforcement measures.
When consumers light up smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes, keen to save money, they may be unwittingly helping to fund international organised crime and terrorists.
This is just one serious problem associated with the trade in illicit tobacco – a trade which is already a global problem and set to grow.
Worldwide, British American Tobacco fully supports regulators, governments and international organisations such as the World Customs Organisation, the World Trade Organisation and World Health Organisation in seeking to eliminate all forms of illicit tobacco trade.
We see it as vitally important that governments establish workable tax regimes and economic policies that do not create conditions for illicit trade, with strong border controls and effective laws to combat it.
Working with customs in Hong Kong
Smuggled and counterfeit products severely damage government tax revenues and for companies such as ours, these products corrode market share, damage the reputation and profitability of our brands and undermine major investments in well-managed distribution networks.
We would like to see an orderly and fair market and are co-operating with the Government of the HKSAR to tackle illicit trade activities. Joint operations between Hong Kong Customs and British American Tobacco Hong Kong have played a role in increasing the number of seizures made in various locations in Hong Kong.
We have worked with the Customs and Excise Department of the Government of the HKSAR on the Informer Reward Scheme, which was established in 1994. For a number of years, we have also supported anti-illicit trade campaigns as a member of industry associations.
Anti-illicit trade campaigns conducted in the past included a sticker campaign to publicise the Customs and Excise Department’s Illicit Cigarettes hotline, and also newspapers, magazine and radio advertising, as well as a street level poster advertising campaign, covering mass transit railway stations.