Marc Firestone, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Philip Morris International (NYSE/Euronext Paris: PM), today appeared as an invited witness before the Commission on Security and Cooperation to offer expert testimony in support of the Commission’s objective of addressing the security and economic threats posed by the illicit trade in tobacco. The hearing was held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The Commission is a bipartisan body of the United States Congress with representation from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
“PMI has a clear business imperative to combat the problem of the illegal tobacco trade and ensure our products are legally sold in the market for which they are intended,” Mr. Firestone stated.
He highlighted that the global illicit tobacco trade annually deprives governments of 40-50 billion USD in lost tax revenue, a figure greater than that of the illicit trade in oil, wildlife, timber, arts and antiquities, and conflict minerals combined. Mr. Firestone noted that “criminals are the only promoters of the global illegal tobacco trade.”
“The revenues that governments and law abiding manufacturers like PMI lose every year to the illicit trade in tobacco are huge," Mr. Firestone told Commission members. "However, the threat posed to safety, security, and the rule of law in Europe, the United States and around the globe is where the interests of our company and the concerns of this Commission most pointedly intersect.”
Mr. Firestone emphasized the critical role cooperation between industry, law enforcement, and government authorities can play in tackling illicit tobacco, and outlined a series of concrete measures that these groups could take to further reduce the flow of illicit tobacco worldwide.
Joining Mr. Firestone on the expert panel were Dr. Louise Shelley, founder and executive director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University, and Prof. David Sweanor, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and global tobacco control policy expert.
A copy of Mr. Firestone’s testimony is available here
About Philip Morris International Inc. (“PMI”)
PMI is the world’s leading international tobacco company, with six of the world's top 15 international brands and products sold in more than 180 markets. In addition to the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, including Marlboro, the number one global cigarette brand, and other tobacco products, PMI is engaged in the development and commercialization of reduced-risk products (“RRPs”). RRPs is the term PMI uses to refer to products that present, are likely to present, or have the potential to present less risk of harm to smokers who switch to these products versus continued smoking. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities, and industry-leading scientific substantiation, PMI aims to provide an RRP portfolio that meets a broad spectrum of adult smoker preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. For more information, see www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.
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