The tobacco industry held closed-door meetings with government officials who then decided final prices for the three tiers of local and foreign cigarettes in favor of the industry. The tobacco industry does not have a seat in the inter-sectoral committee on public health policy. No tobacco industry representatives are included in government delegations to the COP sessions or its related meetings.
Tobacco industry-related CSR activities are not banned and remain a problem in Egypt. Parliamentarians have been involved in an Eastern Tobacco Company-sponsored event honoring the families of martyrs of the army. Japan Tobacco International has sponsored a charity project, “Be Happy Bride,” in the state of Qalioubia which was endorsed by the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, a Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Governor of Qalioubia.
The cigarette division of the Federation of Industries praised the decision of the Ministry of Finance to amend the Executive Regulations of the Customs Law and increase the storage period of tobacco in specialized stores from one year to two years.
International travelers into Egypt are able to bring in 200 cigarettes or 20 cigars or 250 grams of cigarette or pipe tobacco per traveler.
There have been instances of unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry. In 2017, customs officials received training to update their knowledge on the latest methods of smuggling and to distinguish between original and counterfeit products which were widespread in the last period. This training is the third in a series of training courses as part of an agreement between Philip Morris Egypt and the Customs Department to combat cigarette smuggling.
In February 2018, the Third Meeting of National (state-owned) Tobacco Companies was held in Cairo which was attended by government officials. The meeting resulted in the Cairo Declaration calling for the protection of the tobacco industry. The largest tobacco company in Egypt, Eastern Tobacco Company, is a state-owned monopoly.
There is no publicly accessible information about meetings between government officials and the tobacco industry. There is no requirement to register representatives of the tobacco industry entities, their affiliated organizations and individuals acting on their behalf.
While recently there have been no appointments of senior retired government officials to the tobacco industry, in the past there have been several such appointments which shows that this problem remains in the country.
There are no laws prohibiting contributions from the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to political parties, candidates or campaigns.
There is no procedure for disclosing the records of the government’s interaction (such as agenda, attendees, minutes and outcome) with the tobacco industry and its representatives. The government has not adopted a code of conduct for public officials to follow when dealing with the tobacco industry.
The government does not require the tobacco industry to submit information on tobacco production, manufacturing, market share, marketing expenditures, revenues and any other activity, including lobbying, philanthropy and political contributions.
- Tobacco-related CSR activities must be banned. Government agencies must end all agreements and memorandum of agreements with tobacco companies.
- Eastern Tobacco Company, a state-owned monopoly, must be treated like any other tobacco company.
- There must be a register of all representatives of the tobacco industry entities, affiliated organizations and individuals acting on their behalf.
- The government should require the tobacco industry to submit information on tobacco production, manufacturing, market share, marketing expenditures, revenues and lobbying activities.
- Based on an assessment of the implementation of the standard operating procedure, a code of conduct for all civil servants should be implemented.
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