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Tobacco Illicit Trade Protocol – licensing of equipment and the supply chain

As announced at Autumn Statement, Customs are consulting on the provisions of Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Illicit Trade Protocol.

This requires all involved to:

  • introduce UK licensing of machinery used to manufacture tobacco products‎; and
  • to consider the case for licensing (or otherwise approving) tobacco vendors and transporters across the supply chain in the UK.

Therefore, their objectives on each element are slightly different.

In respect of machinery, Customs focus is on how they would introduce the requirement, while understanding and minimising the burdens on legitimate business, linking with existing regulatory requirements.

‎On tobacco vendors, Customs want to obtain information to enable then to assess the potential impact in terms of costs and benefits to inform any decision on whether they should introduce any new regulatory requirements.

HMRC's focus is on the role any new provisions would play in tackling tobacco duty evasion. However, in developing the consultation and considering responses, they are working closely with the Devolved Administrations, who have existing or planned schemes for retailers, and the Department of Health, to consider costs and benefits in the context of the wider tobacco control agenda.

This is a public consultation however, BIFA wish to alert you to this and welcome your views - you can access the consultation document, published on 25 February, via the following link.


The consultation closes on 20 May.

Please send any comments to r.windsor@bifa.org .

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