T&T would have lost over TT$10m in revenue in one year due to the illicit trade in tobacco.
This 2017 data comes from a media release sent by the T&T Manufacturers’ Association which states that, globally, over 465 billion cigarettes are sold illegally annually.
West Indian Tobacco Company Managing Director Laurent Meffre says there has been a proliferation of non-compliant brands and believes there needs to be more collaboration and enforcement to stop illicit trade.
He says measures such as manufacturing serial numbers, enhanced vessel tracking systems, scanners at ports, public education, training, and tougher penalties can also address the issue.
TTMA President Franka Costelloe meanwhile notes that illicit trade is also affecting alcohol distribution, pharmaceuticals, petrol, wildlife, intellectual property, clothes, makeup and even vehicle parts.