United Nations members have drafted a treaty to counteract the global cigarette smuggling trade, which costs up to US$50 billion annually in lost tax revenue.
The draft treaty is the result of four years of negotiation, according to UN officials, and 136 member countries have reached consensus on the document. Notable exceptions include the United States and Indonesia.
Cigarette smuggling has become more popular as taxes on cigarettes rise as it can be less risky than narcotics trafficking and carries lesser penalties.
The draft treaty would create a global tracking and tracing system for cigarette shipments and also require that producers, brokers, and warehouse men be licensed.
The United Nations World Health Organization will discuss the document when it meets in Seoul, North Korea, in mid-November.
Tobacco companies were not formally involved in drafting it.
A recent OCCRP investigation documented how officials at Japan Tobacco International were aware of smuggling and –worse yet—that up to thirteen employees may have been working with the smugglers.