Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 13 December 2019

UAE cigarettes without these new markings are fake or illegal

Packets will display red or green markings from August 1 to prevent tax evasion and fraud

Packets must bear either a red or green tag, the tax authority said. Courtesy: Federal Tax Authority
Packets must bear either a red or green tag, the tax authority said. Courtesy: Federal Tax Authority

Cigarettes will display new markings from next month to help tackle fraud in the tobacco industry.

Red stickers will feature on packets sold in the UAE from August 1 to show tax has been paid by the importer, while green stickers are to be placed on duty-free cigarettes.

The move will help to "protect consumers from low-quality products, combat tax evasion, and ensure that the Excise Tax due on these products has been settled," the Federal Tax Authority said.

QR codes and trackers can be scanned to electronically track packets from the production facility and until they reach the consumer, new images showed on Tuesday.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director general of the authority, said the move "strengthens market controls to prevent the sale of products that have not met their tax obligations".

According to the Tobacco Atlas 2018, about one third of packets sold in the UAE are cheap 'white cigarettes'. That means they are made legally in a factory with the approval of an overseas licensing authority, but often fall short of standards in the country where they are sold.

Last year, a UAE summit on illicit trade heard there are 77 tobacco-related operations in Dubai's free trade zones, including 22 manufacturers of cheap whites.

The event heard some producers are "deceptive about where these cigarettes are destined for" to avoid paying the UAE government tax even if they are sold locally.

Updated: July 16, 2019 05:31 PM

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