I always start each New Year with fresh hope and optimism. And this one is no exception.
2017 has the real potential to provide a step change in efforts to combat criminal activities behind illegal trade of tobacco products. A groundswell of political, industry, and societal opinions and activities is converging to jointly focus on cracking the problem once and for all in a collaborative and systematic way.
One significant piece of activity that best demonstrates this in action is the current work by the European Commission to determine the optimum track and trace and security features for tobacco products, as part of measures to fulfill obligations set out by the EU Tobacco Products Directive. This work is set to be completed this year.
At Philip Morris International, we have been clear on the conditions we believe would create the most appropriate solutions, and you can check out our views by watching this short video:
As I look back, 2016 had some great highlights. One significant achievement was the launch of a major new global initiative called PMI IMPACT. This unique programme is focused on discovering innovation in three key areas in the fight against smuggling and related crimes – research, education and awareness, and action. Philip Morris International Inc. has pledged 100 million US dollars to fund projects during the first three funding rounds, and we have been very encouraged by the number and quality of proposals that have come through.
We are very excited about the potential this unique initiative has to find solutions to combat criminal activities. You can find out more on the initiative here:
So 2017 is very much set to be a significant year of collaboration, innovation and real action in combating the illicit trade in tobacco products. I am very positive about the prospects ahead.
I wish you all a successful professional year, and, wherever possible, I look forward to collaborating with you on our mutual goals.