Reforming in Cambodia

    Japan Tobacco International (JTI), one of Cambodia’s biggest cigarette distributors, has said that it is rejoining the Association of the Tobacco Industry of Cambodia (ATIC) following a recent ATIC promise to combat illegal cigarette sales and fake products, according to a story in The Phnom Penh Post.
    The company left the association in the middle of 2016.
    The ATIC said it had organized an annual meeting last week and decided to regroup to tackle issues that had put the industry at risk, including illegal cigarette sales, fake products, packs with non-pictorial health warnings, and products which did not have legitimate tax stamps.
    Cormac O’Rourke, the general manager of JTI Cambodia, which distributes Camel, Winston and Mevius brands, said his company’s rejoining of ATIC would raise the commitment of all members and players to adhere to the relevant laws and regulations that benefitted the entire industry.
    “The illegal trade of tobacco products is, by far, the industry’s biggest challenge,” he was quoted as saying. “It is severely damaging tobacco companies, the industry, public health agenda and the national economy.”
    In July 2016, JTI ended its affiliation with the ATIC because, it said, the association had failed to create a ‘level playing field’ by allowing unmarked imported cigarettes to flood the market, despite legislation requiring tobacco packaging to carry graphic images and warning labels.
    ATIC President Matt Naumann said the group had decided to make major reforms to its structure and direction to drive compliance in the tobacco sector for a ‘One Industry’ standard.
    The recent reform had led to changes in membership, he added. The Viniton Group had left the association while JTI had rejoined.
    The ATIC now comprises Philip Morris International, Houtraco, British American Tobacco Cambodia and JTI (Cambodia) as official members.