Making Progress, but Not there Yet, 21/03/10

 Geneva, Switzerland: 

International talks in Geneva on a new treaty to fight the global problem of illicit trade in tobacco products have ended without a final agreement. But Parties did make some significant progress.. 

They agreed important provisions to control the supply chain for tobacco products, including a tracking and tracing system for cigarettes and other products as well as a licensing system for manufacturers and others involved in the tobacco trade.   

The outcome of the talks will be reported to the next Conference of Parties to the parent treaty for the protocol, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, in Montevideo, Uruguay in November 2010. 

Illicit trade in cigarettes costs governments $40.5 billion in lost revenue every year, with losses falling disproportionately on low and middle income countries. It also undermines attempts to reduce tobacco consumption by raising prices, and fuels organized crime and terrorism. 

Laurent Huber, Director of the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), a global alliance of more than 350 non-government organisations working on the global tobacco treaty, said:  

“The negotiations made some progress this week, most notably by seriously looking into a tracking and tracing mechanism to monitor tobacco products through the supply chain, but we have not yet achieved an effective and workable protocol. We look forward to continuing to work with Governments until they can agree to an effective tool to curb the illicit trade of tobacco products,  a global curse that robs governments of uncollected tax revenues, promotes the consumption of tobacco products which in turn leads to premature death and disease. Governments must and should come together to solve it .”

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