• May 26, 2024

Latvia sucks in illicits

 Latvia sucks in illicits

Contraband products account for 25.2 percent of Latvia’s cigarette market, according to a story in The Baltic Course citing a report by Latvia’s main information agency, LETA, which, in turn, was based on a survey by AC Nielsen.

Latvia is said to have the highest contraband-cigarette activity of the Baltic states. The share of contraband on Lithuania’s cigarette market, for instance, is reckoned to have been 19.8 percent during the third quarter of this year.

Within Latvia, the highest share of contraband cigarettes, 52 percent, was recorded in Daugavpils, in the southeast of the country close to its borders with Belarus and Russia.

In the Latvian capital Riga, the share of contraband cigarettes was 23 percent.

The chairman of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Janis Endzins, said that despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies, which seized millions of contraband cigarettes almost every day, Latvia still had the highest share of cigarette contraband among EU member states.

And Endzins added that an ill-considered excise-tax policy was likely to boost contraband instead of bringing additional revenue to the state budget.

Belarus is said to be the source of 66.5 percent of the contraband cigarettes entering Latvia, while Russia is in second place with 10.7 percent.