Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 2

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14 tobaccoasia FRONT PAGE NEWS 卷首新闻 Thailand Tobacco: Cover Story Follow-up After many false starts on Thailand Tobacco Monopoly's (TTM) promise to move its cigarette and tobacco factories from Bangkok, we'd promised not to bother reporting another one of their "we're moving" stories without some compelling evidence. Following up our cover story in March/April, we can now report that TTM, sitting on 640 rai (102 ha or 154 acres) of prime real estate in the center of sprawling Bangkok, Thailand, is moving; factory buildings are being torn down as we write (see picture). At least half of the land occupied by TTM will be converted to a park and officially given to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand on the occasion of her 84 th birthday on August 12. Although this is an ambitious plan, eight factory buildings have already been removed in half as many weeks and keeping up with this pace, they may be able to have the park planted out and presentable for the Queen by then (EDITOR). In only four weeks a total of eight factory buildings have been removed (left side of picture) with plans for half of Thailand Tobacco Monopoly's land to be converted to park which will be donated to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on her birthday on August 12. Indonesia/Australia Row Over Plain Packs Indonesian Trade Minister Thomas Lembong has said that plain packaging for the cigarette industry as implemented by Australia is completely inappropriate. Indonesia as the second largest exporter of manufactured tobacco products in the world will surely be affected should the proposal be ap- proved by the World Trade Organiza- tion (WTO). He said that tobacco products are one of the country's nation- al interests. "There are millions of workers working in tobacco, clove plantation, and for tobacco product industries. Hence, in this matter we are against the policy issued by Australian government," he said recently. Rejections of this plain packaging were also conveyed by a number of domestic organizations in Australia. Director of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Simon Breheny, said that the regulation had failed to achieve the desired effect to decrease the number of smokers. "Based on the data we've gathered, we saw no decrease due to this regula- tion. In our opinion the removal of the colors and logos from packaging was not within the government's scope of authority. It would be better if the government paid more attention to the regulations governing public smoking than the smoking habits of the public," he said. A different objection was expressed by the president director of the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), Jeff Rogut. He said that this regulation had caused an increase in the service times in stores because all the packages were very similar in appearance. "Not to mention that storekeepers hand over the wrong products to the purchasers, because the similar forms and colors make it difficult to differenti- ate one product from another. This has created new problems. This regulation has also led to the increased circulation of illegal cigarettes," he said. Based on data from the Ministry of Trade, the cigarette industry contributes 1.66% to the total GDP of Indonesia and foreign exchange via exports to other countries amounting to US$700 million. This industry also directly and indirectly involves approximately 6.1 million workers and 1.8 million clove and tobacco farmers. Indonesia and three other countries, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, previously sued Australia at the WTO over the plain packaging proposal. This lawsuit is believed to be the largest case ever dealt with by the WTO. S. Korea KT&G Booms in New Markets South Korea's leading tobacco company Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corp. (KT&G) has met success in new overseas markets beyond its traditional markets in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Russia. According to a KT&G official, the company sold a total of 46.5 billion cigarettes overseas in 2015. Of them, 18.4 billion cigarettes, or 39.6%, were sold in new overseas markets including the US and Africa. This figure has tripled for the last five years. KT&G sold 6.2 billion cigarettes in those markets in 2010, accounting for only 15.4% among the company's total overseas sales.

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