Table 2

Exemplars of MoUs between governments and TTCs (1999–2018), based on media accounts and industry press releases*

YearCountryTTCDescription (available information from TTC websites, CSR reports, WHO reports and media news)
1999Italy55 PMIMoU establishes ‘collaborative communication system, through exchanges of information’ with Italy’s Ministry of Finance to seize contraband cigarettes.
2000Colombia58 PMIPMI would ‘inspect contraband Marlboro cigarettes that are seized by DIAN and advise it of any information that would be useful in its law enforcement efforts’.
2000Kosovo59 GallaherNo details.
2002UK69 Gallaher
(now JTI)
HMC&E committed to ‘work and share information with Gallaher to identify, prevent and deter trade in counterfeit product … and meet regularly with Gallaher to review progress in tackling tobacco smuggling’.
Gallaher agreed to ‘take action where information indicates any substantial smuggling of its products to identify, so far as is reasonably practical, the supply routes and suspect export trade’ and provide ‘Customs with prompt access to data about export sales, including specific in-house codings and translations of those codings’.
UK74 BATHMC&E committed to promptly ‘advise BAT of any significant seizures’ and ‘enable BAT to determine whether or not it is genuine product or counterfeit and also to enable BAT to try to trace its first customer’.
BAT on request would supply ‘HMC&E with export sales data related to seized cigarettes, including details of the first customer and the intended or stated destination country of sale’.
2003UK73 ImperialThe MoU would ‘further undermine the operations of the smugglers and counterfeiters of tobacco products’.
This ‘far-reaching MoU will enable Imperial Tobacco and HM Customs and Excise to further strengthen their relationship’.
2003UK59 JTIThe MoU ‘set out a framework of co-operation’ to ‘limit the trade in smuggled and counterfeit goods’.
The MoU ‘is intended not to be binding in law and does not create any legal obligations’.
2004Jordan83 BAT‘The MOU calls for information sharing and joint cooperation between [the Aquaba Special Economic Zone Authority in Jordan] ASEZA and BAT surrounding the inspection of suspected containers, with the BAT Research and Development Department providing analysis for suspected products’.
2005Hungary78 BATNo details.
UK78 Gallaher, BAT, ImperialNo details.
2007Romania78 BAT, JTINo details.
Lebanon105 BAT‘The MoU aims to set up procedures to fight cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting in accordance with Lebanese laws and regulations. It will establish a framework to allow for the full exchange of information and expertise between British American Tobacco and the Lebanese authorities; offer technical training to government personnel operating on the ground to help them identify counterfeit products; provide measures to destroy seized counterfeit products; and raise awareness about the financial losses caused by the illicit trade in tobacco products.’
Lebanon109 PMI‘Philip Morris plans to train the Lebanese Regie company, a government controlled entity which hold a monopoly in the production of tobacco and import of cigarettes, to detect counterfeited cigarettes.’
‘Regie and Philip Morris will also exchange information on cigarette smuggling and disclose the names of the smugglers.’
Lebanon4 JTINo details.
Jordan105 BATMoU will ‘help tackle illicit trade through joint action and shared intelligence, dialogue with concerned parties on ways to prevent illicit trade, providing information to the authorities to combat illicit trade, monitoring seizures and destruction of illicit stock, involvement in government task forces and training for government officials (namely Customs officials) on how to identify counterfeit products’.
Yemen105 BATSame as Jordan-BAT MoU.
Egypt105 BATSame as Jordan-BAT MoU.
2008Benin126 BATNo details.
2008Ghana126 BATNo details.
2008Ghana126 PMINo details.
2009Ireland104 JTIMoU ‘sets out a framework of bi-lateral co-operation between them to counter the smuggling and sale of contraband and counterfeit JTI branded product in Ireland’.
‘Sharing information and improving co-operation.’
2010Iran15 ImperialNo details.
2011Luxemburg110 JTI‘The goal is to identify possible illegal activities and to discourage them. Whereas the authorities will inform JTI of control and seizure operations on the national territory, JTI will give complete access to its database and ‘Track and Trace’ systems, which allows for an exact follow-up of its products’ sale and distribution.’
‘JTI will also support the training of the civil servants, notably the staff of the ‘Administration des Douanes et Accises.’
Papua New Guinea101 JTIMoU ‘will allow the parties to share information and work closely to address illegal trade and related issues’.
2012Albania78 BATNo details.
Moldova89 Imperial‘Under the terms of the agreement, Imperial and the Moldovan customs authority will work more closely together by meeting regularly to exchange information on seizures of illegal tobacco products and organising joint education and training initiatives’.
France107 Imperial‘Imperial and French customs officials will exchange information on any seized tobacco shipments. Imperial will also provide training sessions for customs officials to assist them in identifying counterfeit cigarettes’.
Luxemburg103 Imperial‘Under the terms of the agreement, Imperial and the Customs and Exchange Duties Administration will work more closely together by meeting regularly to exchange information’.
Vietnam86 ImperialNo details.
Mauritius111 BAT‘It is a partnership that we have made to combat the illicit trade. The MRA is on the ground and they have the resources to do it. There is a sharing of information, expertise and best practices between us and we are happy to work with them’.
2013Namibia102 TISA‘The MoU will forge greater collaboration between the ministry’s directorate of customs and excise and TISA to facilitate legal trade in tobacco products while combating illicit activities through information sharing, investigations and curbing of illegal trade in cigarettes and other tobacco products in the southern African region.’
Mozambique100 TISA‘a formal framework based on their mutual commitment to facilitate legitimate trade in tobacco products, whilst combating illicit activities.’
‘to formalize and legitimize a platform for the exchange of information and other collaborative action in the prevention, investigation and curbing of illicit trade in cigarettes and other tobacco products.’
South Africa100 TISASame as Mozambique-BAT MoU.
Botswana100 TISASame as Mozambique-BAT MoU.
Lesotho100 TISASame as Mozambique-BAT MoU.
Swaziland100 TISASame as Mozambique-BAT MoU.
2014Papua New Guinea127 BATNo details.
2015Gibraltar94 PMI‘The MOU establishes a framework of cooperation to combat illicit trade in tobacco whilst minimising obstacles to legitimate trade. Its provisions include the sharing of best practices, further training of customs officers on counterfeit cigarette recognition, and the exchange of information gathered through market monitoring.’
Australia99 BATNo details.
Vietnam86 ImperialNo details.
Latvia86 ImperialNo details.
2016Zambia108 BAT‘The timeline of the MoU will be 3 years, during the course of which Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) will receive IT equipment and support to improve the commission’s law enforcement and prosecution for various offences including smuggling.’
2017Dominican Republic90 PMINo details.
Czech Republic90 PMINo details.
2018United Arab Emirates106 PMI‘The agreement establishes a broad framework of activities required by both parties to combat the illicit trade and specifies the requirement of communicating awareness on it, efforts made to eliminate the occurrences, and successes in confiscation and discovery of illegally trafficked goods.’
Ecuador112 PMIMoU ‘purpose of establishing information exchanges, coordination, training and assistance necessary’.
‘ITABSA [Industrias del Tabaco Alimentos y Bebidas S.A., PMI] will provide SENAE with a list of cigarette brands of its subsidiaries available for sale in the country and neighboring countries.’ (translated by author)
  • *The industry accounts of number of MoUs on illicit trade is a minimum 124 globally. This table lists a sample where countries’ names and sometimes descriptions on MoU content were provided.

  • BAT, 20 MoUs (as of 2018).

  • Imperial, 24 MoUs (as of 2015).86

  • JTI, 30 MoUs (as of 2017)87

  • PMI, 50 MoUs (as of 2018).88

  • BAT, British American Tobacco; CSR, corporate social responsibility; HMC&E, HM Customs and Excise; MoUs, memoranda of understanding; PMI, Philip Morris International; TISA, Tobacco Institute of South Africa (a tobacco industry association that represents BAT, Imperial, JTI, and PMI); TTC, transnational tobacco company.