PMI IMPACT eyes another block of illicit tobacco projects

Philip Morris International (PMI) has received 157 applications for the second round of its $100m initiative to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco products.

The PMI IMPACT programme selected its first 32 projects from 200 applications in September – which will receive up to $28m -and is now sifting through a pile of applications for the second round from a range of government agencies, public universities, private companies, and not-for-profit organisations from countries around the world.

While the first round focused on projects with an emphasis on the EU, the second round will take a broader approach, selecting projects that will tackle converging forms of illegal trade such as the smuggling and counterfeiting of goods, human trafficking, and the trade in drugs, arms, and wildlife, said PMI, which launched the programme last year.

The latest phase of the initiative will also examine the interlinks of illegal trade with related crimes, including corruption, money laundering, and organized criminal networks.

“It is gratifying to receive such sustained support for the initiative taken by PMI IMPACT to get all relevant stakeholders to work together,” commented Navi Pillay, member of the PMI IMPACT Expert Council. "We will be reviewing the applications and will make a selection of the successful candidates shortly.”

After the review, selected applicants will be invited to submit their full project proposals in early 2018 to the PMI IMPACT Expert Council, which consists of external independent experts in the fields of law, anti-corruption, human rights, and law enforcement.

It has been estimated that up to 460bn cigarettes a year are illegal – smuggled, counterfeit or tax-evaded in other ways – costing governments around the world $40bn in lost tax revenues and putting smokers at risk of exposure to higher levels of toxins than with genuine products.

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