Business news from Ukraine

JTI EXPORTS FROM UKRAINE CIGARETTES FOR $117.7 MLN IN 2020

JTI Ukraine tobacco company in 2020 produced 15.9 billion cigarettes at a factory in Kremenchuk (Poltava region), of which 6.04 billion were exported for $ 117.7 million, Director General of Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Ukraine Paul Holloway said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
He noted that the export of cigarettes by the company remains stable, despite the contraction of the Ukrainian cigarette market. Last year, JTI Ukraine exported its products to 14 countries, including Japan and Mexico.
“We are planning to turn the factory in Kremenchuk into a large export hub. Our factory is very flexible and can produce various types of products – we export not only cigarettes, but, for example, filters, which are then used to produce cigarettes in our other factories. We hope that our factory in Ukraine will continue to increase exports,” the director said.
He clarified that he hopes for further revenue growth from the export of the factory’s products in Kremenchuk. According to him, an important factor that influenced the company’s export plans was its obtaining the status of an authorized economic operator, which will reduce customs formalities when importing raw materials and exporting finished products.
Holloway noted that JTI, which received this status as the first in Ukraine, will receive a number of advantages when passing through customs formalities in Ukraine, including the opportunity to use a special dedicated traffic lane for commercial vehicles.

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IMPERIAL TOBACCO LOSES APPEAL ON ANTIMONOPOLY COMMITTEE OF UKRAINE FINE

The Pivnichny (Northern) Economic Court of Appeals on February 2 rejected the complaint of Imperial Tobacco Ukraine and Imperial Tobacco Production Ukraine against the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) on a fine of UAH 460 million on suspicion of anti-competitive concerted actions of cigarette manufacturers and distributors.
“Imperial Tobacco Ukraine and Imperial Tobacco Production Ukraine will appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals in the Supreme Court. In addition, the companies are simultaneously preparing to transfer the case to the international investment arbitration, because it is becoming increasingly clear that in Ukraine foreign investors cannot count on a fair trial,” the group of companies said in a press release.
According to Imperial Tobacco, the decision of the court is the result of political pressure.
“Unfortunately, the appellate link of the judiciary has demonstrated the same bias and political bias as the court of first instance. This development of events gives another alarming signal to the community of foreign investors about the real state of legal proceedings in Ukraine,” the press service of the company said citing director general of Imperial Tobacco Rastislav Cernak.
The company clarified that the fine of UAH 460 million was paid in full the day after the loss in the court of first instance – July 21, 2020, in order to prevent the accrual of additional penalties and to avoid further pressure on the company’s operating activities from the AMCU.

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60% OF SMUGGLED CIGARETTES IN UKRAINE COME THROUGH PORTS

About 60% of attempts to smuggle cigarettes is recorded through ports, in general, tobacco products are most popular among other smuggled goods, First Deputy Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Volodymyr Nikiforenko has said.
“More than 60% of smuggling is detected in ports. There are significant consignments of seized cigarettes. For example, one of the recent large consignments detained is estimated at about UAH 80 million,” he said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday.
According to Nikiforenko, in general, this year the State Border Guard Service suppressed attempts of illegal movement of tobacco products across the border about 750 times, seized 12 million packages of cigarettes.
“During this year, our colleagues and partners, and we interact with law enforcement agencies of countries adjacent to Ukraine, note a 50-67% fall in the volume of smuggling from Ukraine to Europe,” he said.
The first deputy head of the State Border Guard Service added that drones and small aircraft are often used to supply cigarette contraband.
“There are indicative episodes when we detained a plane that launched from Cherkasy region and was moving to the Romanian border. In just one day, it violated the airspace four times. The plane was detained, criminal proceedings are underway,” Nikiforenko said.
With regard to the fight against smuggling of cigarettes, Nikiforenko supported the legislative initiative to return criminal responsibility for smuggling an excisable group of goods.
“We are losing in the influence on the development of the criminal situation in the border zone to our neighbors, where the law enforcement influence on these processes is tougher. This encourages wider population to this illegal activity. Where there is administrative responsibility, our Romanian neighbors can bring to criminal responsibility with serious consequences: for 10 boxes of cigarettes you can get five years in prison. Romanians are less involved in this [smuggling], while in Ukraine many settlements “specialize” in this for years,” Nikiforenko said, adding that only about 2% of cigarettes with a Ukrainian excise label are seized on the border, while the rest is counterfeit and smuggling from other countries.

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UKRAINE CANCELS LICENSING FOR IMPORTS OF SPIRIT, ALCOHOL, CIGARETTES

The Cabinet of Ministers has abolished licensing for imports and exports of ethyl, cognac and fruit alcohol, ethyl rectified grape and fruit spirit, alcoholic drinks and tobacco products.
The decision was made at a government meeting on July 24 with the subsequent coordination with Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.

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