Four additional tobacco companies have agreed to implement Pakistan’s new track-and-trace system, bringing the total to seven, according to Propakistani.
As of July, all tobacco companies operating in Pakistan must implement the country’s track-and-trace system. Tobacco products may enter the domestic market only if they carry stamps and unique identification markers.
Until recently, only three tobacco manufacturers—Pakistan Tobacco Co., Philip Morris International and Khyber Tobacco Co. (KTC)—had installed the track-and-trace system and made it operational.
Now, Asia Tobacco, Frontier Leaf Tobacco, Falcon Tobacco and International Cigarette have also decided to sign agreements with Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue for the implementation of the track-and-trace system at their factories.
In addition to the multinationals, there are at least 21 tobacco companies operating in Pakistan, including 18 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and three in the country’s federally and provincially administrated tribal areas.
The tobacco companies that are already operating the system maintain that it will succeed only if all players implement it. According to critics, some of the holdouts engage in illicit trade and fear the track-and-trace system will expose their illegal activities.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s track-and-trace system has come under fire from anti-smoking groups who maintain that the chosen system, Codentify, retains tobacco ties in violation of the World Health Organization Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
Codentify was developed by Philip Morris International and later sold to Inexto, a company that still employs former PMI employees, according to critics.