Customs ready to cooperate on implementation of new WHO tobacco protocol

19 noviembre 2012

Customs ready to cooperate on implementation of new WHO tobacco protocol

Brussels, 19 November 2012

Press Release

WHO tobacco protocol

The World Customs Organization (WCO) welcomes the adoption in Seoul, Korea by the Parties to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the new international treaty setting the rules for combating the illegal trade in tobacco products through controlling the supply chain and enhancing international cooperation.

Delegates representing more than 140 Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention adopted the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, committing countries to establishing, as a central measure, a global tracking and tracing system to reduce illicit trade which leads to substantial revenue losses for governments and generates vast financial profits for illegal traders.

"The global Customs community is delighted that this new instrument to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products has been adopted," said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya. "The WCO and its 179 Members stand ready to cooperate with the WHO in stamping out illicit tobacco trade at borders, thereby protecting revenue and consumer health and safety," he added.

As an accredited observer of the COP, the governing body of the Convention, the WCO is well aware of the huge amount of work that lays ahead, and in this regard the Organization will continue to seek, identify and promote synergies with the Convention Secretariat with a view to ensuring the smooth implementation of this important international treaty.

"The elimination of all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products, including smuggling and illegal manufacturing, is an essential component of tobacco control," said Ambassador Ricardo Varela, President of the Convention's COP. "By adopting this new Protocol countries have reiterated their historic commitment towards protecting the health of their citizens," he added.

The new Protocol, a milestone for global public health, establishes what actions constitute unlawful conduct and sets out related enforcement and international cooperation measures, such as licensing, information-sharing and mutual legal assistance that will help counteract and eventually eliminate illicit trade, the profits of which are often used to fund transnational criminal activity.

With the adoption of the tobacco protocol by the COP, the following procedural steps for its entry into force are applicable: Protocol open for signature by the Parties for one year, starting 10 January 2013; ratification process, according to national law; and entry into force 90 days after 40 ratifications.

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