New association to fight illicit trade in excisable goods

A new association to fight illicit trade in excisable goods was launched on Wednesday by the world's four largest international tobacco companies.

Called the Digital Coding & Tracking Association (DCTA), it will promote international standards and digital technologies to help governments fight smuggling, counterfeiting and tax evasion.

Behind this initiative are the British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Group, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International, all of which jointly developed a digital coding technology called Codentify that the DCTA will make available worldwide.

The announcement of the DCTA comes amid a growing problem of illicit tobacco trade in Singapore. The number of people caught last year for offences related to contraband cigarettes was the highest in the last five years, of which smugglers made up the majority.Philip Morris Singapore's corporate affairs manager, Mr Ann Hee Kyet, said the local tobacco industry leaders have been in talks with the Singapore Customs about DCTA's technology which he believes will help effectively fight cigarette smuggling in Singapore.