USD 116 million (EUR 101 million) worth of tobacco products were imported over the 10-month period, a fall of USD 11.4 million, or 8.9 per cent, on the value of imports in previous year.
The news agency said that while imports had decreased over the reporting period, 2018 production volumes had easily outstripped those of the previous year. 1.275 billion sticks were manufactured in the January-May period, whereas production volumes for the entire 12 months of 2017 totalled just 1.241 billion sticks.
In the January-June 2018 period, USD 5.5 million worth of tobacco and tobacco products was exported while imports totalled USD 60.1 million, according to state customs figures quoted in the report.
The news agency said designs to employ “rational” use of the domestic tobacco industry, and increase its competitiveness, had led to decreased imports and the building of a new manufacturing facility by cigarette maker Tabaterra. The company will build a new facility at Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park with a production capacity of 10 billion sticks, which would enable it to fully meet domestic demand for cigarettes, AzerNews said.
An August 2017 decree signed by President Ilham Aliyev approved development measures for domestic tobacco growing, which aim to increase profitability and export potential from tobacco leaf, and to bolster employment in rural areas.