2.4% is the share of illegal cigarettes on the Bulgarian market at the end of 2021.

According to the traditional study of empty packaging, the consumption of cigarettes without Bulgarian excise labels remained low for the 3rd and 4th quarters of last year – 2.5% and 2.4%, respectively. The data were presented by the companies in the “Initiative against Illicit Trade” on March 21, 2022 to representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Customs Agency, the Economic Police, the CDCOC and the Ministry of Economy.
The summary data for the weighted average level for 2021 of the consumption of cigarettes not intended for the local market, based on the total volume of the cigarette market, is 2.1%, which is a decrease of 0.2 percentage points compared to 2020 (2 , 3%).
The study of empty packages is useful because it is a barometer for the work of customs – said the director of the Customs Agency Pavel Tonev. The results of the Agency largely overlap with the findings of the study that in general, cigarettes not intended for the local market on an annual basis in 2021 will decrease compared to 2020, said Tonev. In 2021, more than 31 million cigarettes were seized, which is about 2 times more than the previous year. In 2021 there is an increase of BGN 65.5 million in excise revenues in the group “Tobacco Products”, as in the period May – December the increase is BGN 103 million, which allows to catch up with the lag from January to April. , when BGN 37.5 million less excise revenues were reported in the group, added the director of the Customs Agency.
Tobacco companies said that the institutions in our country have achieved a sustainable result in the fight against smuggling and called for commitment to the topic to remain at the same high level. Data for the 4th quarter show a minimal increase of only 0.1 percentage points compared to the 3rd quarter of the previous year, and compared to the same quarter of 2020 there is no change in the share of illegal cigarette consumption. For another reporting period, Bulgaria has the lowest share of the illegal cigarette market of the EU member states in which this study is conducted. The analysis of the packaging of cigarettes without Bulgarian excise labels, collected within the survey in the 4th quarter of 2021, shows that among them with the largest share are those marked for duty-free trade, cigarettes with unknown brands such as illicit whites ( brands without an analogue on the legal market, which are created solely for the purpose of illegal distribution), as well as counterfeits of well-known international brands.
The Anti-Trafficking Initiative companies said the institutions’ focus on combating smuggling was yielding long-term and stable results, and despite the complicated epidemic and international situation, efforts must continue in the interests of the state budget and legal trade. Given the ongoing process of reviewing Directive 2011/64 / EU on the structure and rates of excise duty on tobacco products, the companies of the Initiative consider it key to ensure predictability of the country’s excise policy, taking into account European practices and the economic situation in Bulgaria. slow and gradual increase of the minimum excise rates by introducing an excise schedule. They stressed that predictability is important for the business environment, consumers and the state in order to prevent potential future increases in the illicit trade in cigarettes.

Source: Customs Agency

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