Industry calls for ‘strong and concerted tobacco defence’ ahead of ITP MOP3

By Luke Barras-hill |

DF&TR tobacco advocates have reasserted that the threat to the category has not diminished despite recent, encouraging developments.

As reported, the Second Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP2) to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (ITP) – part of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – concluded in November without reference to ITP Article 13.2.

Discussion around ‘substantive issues’ such as Article 13.2, which calls for the launch of an evidence-based research study that takes as its basis the suggestion that DF&TR sales contribute to the illicit trading of tobacco products, will almost certainly be considered at MOP3 in Panama next year.

While welcoming the decision to defer such discussion until then, campaigners have made clear that the threat to the tobacco category has not receded.

“We are still very conscious and clear that the threat posed by the study has not gone away, it has merely been delayed,” commented a DF&TR lobby source who preferred not to be named.


Representatives of the DF&TR tobacco sector have long maintained their unequivocal support in the fight to eliminate illicit trading.

However, they have made clear on a consistent basis that any study carried out under the terms of the protocol should not be used to target law-abiding businesses as part of a vehicle to satisfy political agendas.

The DF&TR lobby is maintaining its messaging to ITP parties that the travel retail industry boasts one of the most transparent, robust and secure supply chains in the world

“A concerted effort by travel retailers around the world will be required between now and November 2023 to defend the duty free channel from inaccurate and damaging allegations by the WHO; allegations that, if not robustly defended, risk causing irreversible harm to our industry,” Sarah Branquinho, President, Duty Free World Council told TRBusiness in a statement. “We will continue to make our case that duty free is a highly regulated business channel and not a contributor to illicit trade as the WHO has suggested.”

Speaking at the time of the conclusion of MOP2, another source close to the matter told TRBusiness: “It is more important than ever that the travel retail industry continues to rebut inaccurate allegations that we are a contributor to illicit trade, and continues to remind ITP parties that our industry boasts one of the most transparent and secure supply chains in the world.

“Illicit trade causes our industry harm, just as it does any other industry, and we will continue to work closely with enforcement agencies across the globe to eliminate it in all its forms.”

Stay close to TRBusiness for further updates. For more on the DF&TR tobacco category, including a regulatory snapshot, see the TRBusiness February e-zine by clicking here.


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