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Share of illicit trade in cigarettes in Romania drops to 15.3% in Sept - researcher

Share of illicit trade in cigarettes in Romania drops to 15.3% in Sept - researcher Novel, September 2018

BUCHAREST (Romania), October 19 (SeeNews) – The share of the black market of cigarettes in Romania shrank to 15.3% in September, from 18.2% in July and 2017 average of 16%, Romanian company Novel Research said.

As much as 21.6% of all cigarettes smuggled into Romania orginated from the country's northeastern neighbour Moldova, up 1.9 percentage points compared to the last study made in July, Novel Research said in a press release on Thursday.

The percentage of illicit cigarettes smuggled from Ukraine edged up by 0.3 percentage points to 9.8% in September compared to July, while the share of contraband cigarettes from Serbia fell to 0.4% in September, down 1.2 percentage points compared to July.

The so-called "cheap whites" - foreign-sounding brand names made solely for the black market - accounted for 62.5% of all smuggled cigarettes.

Smuggled cigarettes had a 33.5% market share in Romania's northeastern region. The most significant decrease in the illicit trade in cigarettes was registered in the southwestern region, by 15.1 percentage points to 11.8%.

Cigarette manufacturers believe that, in order to reduce smuggling, several legislative changes they have long been pressing for are needed. Namely, producers call for stricter controls at the border crossings with Hungary and Bulgaria, as well as at markets, fairs and metro stations.

Tobacco industry is the second biggest contributor to Romania's state budget, after the oil industry.