This week 160 State Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), are participating in the second round of negotiations for a global treaty to combat tobacco smuggling. The second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products began Monday 20th October, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is the first potocol of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be negotiated. The Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control decided at its second session (Bangkok, 30 June – 6 July 2007) to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body open to all Parties to draft and negotiate a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products which will build upon and complement the provisions of Article 15 of the FCTC.
During the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (Geneva on 11–16 February 2008), Parties to the FCTC discussed the template of the protocol and they elected a bureau and a chairperson, Mr. Ian Walton- George. The chairperson with the help of the Convention Secretariat and key experts elaborated on a text for the protocol, which the government representatives shall discuss and negotiate this week, during second INB session on the FCTC Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
It is important that governments represented at this second INB session on the illicit tobacco trade protocol agree on a strong illicit trade protocol, giving particular attention to control of the supply chain (which is in fact, mostly dominated by the tobacco industry), enforcement and international cooperation.
Indeed international cooperation is crucial because of the cross border nature of illicit tobacco trade. Tobacco smuggling and other forms of illicit trade in tobacco products undermines tax policy, causes revenue losses to governments and seriously threatens public health, as deadly cigarettes and other tobacco products become cheaply available.
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