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Monday, July 15, 2024

Marcos to Customs, BIR: Beef up efforts vs smuggling of tobacco, vape

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President Marcos ordered the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to heighten their efforts against the smuggling of tobacco and vape products.

Speaking during the 6th Private Sector Advisory Council-Agriculture Sector Group (PSAC-ASG) meeting held in Malacañang on Wednesday, the President acknowledged the government’s anti-smuggling measures while emphasizing the need for intensified enforcement by the BoC and BIR.

“Enforcement and anti-smuggling and all that. You really have to beef them up and I think we’re doing that,” the President said.

“There will be [more efforts] with the Bureau of Customs and BIR, so that we can improve performance [in] that regard,” he added.

In response, Special Assistant to the President on Economic and Economic Affairs Frederick Go said he has received assurances from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Consumer Protection Group that it will assign a significant number of personnel to monitor the vape industry.

BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui, Jr. informed the President that his agency has stepped up its crackdown against smuggled vape products and is planning to implement a tax stamp system to identify illicit items.

The PSAC-ASG recommended releasing funds under Republic Act 4155 for the National Tobacco Authority (NTA) Sustainable Tobacco Enhancement Program (STEP).

It also sought amendments to the Anti-Agri Smuggling Act of 2016 to include tobacco products, citing provisions on minimum retail price (MRP) and penalties for distributing and selling smuggled products.

They also urged the DTI to set a registration deadline for vape product importers, requested BIR to impose taxes on tobacco and vape products, and stressed the need for ongoing enforcement against smuggling.

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