APTRA is dismayed by tobacco cuts

By Doug Newhouse |

The Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association has reacted with dismay at the Indian Government’s proposal to halve the duty free tobacco allowance.


APTRA President Jaya Singh (above) said the lack of any discussion prior to announcing this proposal was especially disappointing considering the wider implications.


He said: “The Board and members of the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association join airport retailers and suppliers in expressing their complete and resolute disagreement with the decision by the Central Board of Excise & Customs in India to half the inbound duty free tobacco allowance to 100 sticks, 25 cigars or 125 grams of tobacco.



“Although the unexpected move has yet to be voted on by the Indian Parliament – and as such is not yet law – its potential repercussions on arrivals duty free in the country and on duty free tobacco sales to India-bound passengers are causing consternation across the industry.


“Not only was this move undertaken without due consultation with the retailers and suppliers, it also demonstrates the complete disregard of the Indian authorities for the broader implications on the local economy.”


Singh added: “Duty free and travel retail is a thriving business which is tightly regulated and which creates employment and wealth all over the world.”


He concluded that APTRA and its DF&TR industry partners are ‘redoubling their strenuous efforts’ to convince the Indian authorities to reverse this decision before it is put to the vote this week.

APTRA President Jaya Singh at the TRBusiness special round table in May.


Interestingly Singh told the TRBusiness’ ’Tobacco Power in Duty Free’ special round table in May that he was very concerned about the strategy moving forward to try to preserve duty free tobacco allowances.


Asked by Doug Newhouse what he thinks is the right route to retain the tobacco business for as long as possible, he said: “We need to arm ourselves with a bucket full of facts. Next to that what I see is a clear understanding of process when it comes to lobbying… who does what… when and how do we get the heads up as to what are the issues that are being discussed at various government levels?


“Can we get in early on that process so that we can arm ourselves with those facts and begin to get at the right table with the right facts?


“I would say that my observation of how we’ve addressed this so far… its been like for want of a better word.. we have been reactive. So the question really is what is it going to take for us to move from a reactive mode to a proactive mode. How does process and facts fit into that?


“At the end of the day I think that if all we stand a chance of retaining the category – which is to your question – we need to have a fundamental shift in where we are today… primarily reactive, to that proactive stance and what does it take to do that? If we don’t have that I don’t think we have a clear strategy.”




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