A Critique of the ITIC/O Asia-14 Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2013 (2015)

Author: Hana Ross

Executive Sumary

The “Asia-14 Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2013” (Asia-14) report was published by the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) and Oxford Economics (OE) as a follow up to their previous attempt to estimate the scope and composition of illicit tobacco consumption in Asia presented in “Asia-11 Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2012” (Asia-11). Both reports were funded by Philip Morris International. The new report claims to take advantage of newly available data and improved methodology and covers all 10 ASEAN member nations plus Australia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Taiwan. As was true for the prior edition, this report finds, echoing the position of the tobacco industry, that the illicit cigarette market represents a significant and increasing portion of the total cigarette market, and that this increase deprives the region’s governments of substantial tax revenues. The key findings of the report include the following:

• In 2013, 10.9% of cigarettes consumed in Asia-14 were illicit.

• In 2013, the share of Illicit Consumption increased in 7 out of the 11 markets that were examined in the previous report.

• Domestic and Non-Domestic Illicit cigarettes both contributed to the rise in Illicit Consumption in Asia.

• Asia-14 government tax revenue losses from Illicit Cigarette Consumption totaled US$ 3.9 billion in 2013.

Read more: International Investment and Tax Center and Oxford Economics