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Tobacco: Counterfeit Manufacturing

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) pursuant to the answer of 17 July 2007, Official Report, column 259W, on tobacco: counterfeit manufacturing, which tobacco companies already use the technology that is being introduced across the tobacco industry on their tobacco products, as of July 2007; and which tobacco companies will be introducing this as a new level of security on their tobacco products by October 2007 as part of the voluntary agreement; (153449)

(2) if he will publish the terms of the voluntary agreement made between HM Revenue and Customs and the tobacco industry in respect of introducing an anti-counterfeit solution to UK duty paid tobacco from October 2007.

Information about the companies currently using the anti-counterfeiting technology cannot be released as this could prejudice law enforcement efforts, and the commercial interests of manufacturers and would breach HM Revenue and Customs’ duty of confidentiality towards those companies.

The agreement reached with the tobacco industry is that all cigarette packs intended for the UK duty paid market manufactured from October 2007 will incorporate a covert security mark, and packs of hand-rolling tobacco manufactured from October 2008 at the latest, will also incorporate a covert security mark. The agreement includes providing HMRC with the specialist equipment needed to test the authenticity of cigarette and hand-rolling tobacco packs.

For security reasons, the nature of the technology the industry have agreed to introduce will not be published.