Argentina and tobacco firms in anti-smuggling move
BUENOS AIRES, June 16 (Reuters) - Argentina reached an agreement with the country's tobacco companies to suspend exports to bordering nations in an effort to curb cigarette smuggling, the Economy Minister said on Friday.
``We have an agreement with the companies so that they don't export to bordering countries,'' Economy Minister Jose Luis Machinea said at a press conference.
He said the move hoped to stop cigarettes exported abroad be illegally smuggled back into the country. According to Machinea, the move could increase tax collection by $200 million.
Machinea did not give any more details.
Argentina's tobacco market is largely controlled by units of British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.
The Argentine government receives about $2 billion in taxes from tobacco a year but industry executive have said the government also loses about $230 million a year due to cigarette smuggling.