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UAE bans import of unmarked cigarettes

02 May 2019. The United Arab Emirates has banned the importation of any type of cigarettes without digital tax stamps, The Khaleej Times reported.

The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) explained that this step is part of the timeline for the "Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme," which went into effect on 1 January 2019 which allows the electronic tracking of cigarette packs from production until they reach consumers.

According to the report, FTA Director General Khalid Ali Al Bustani said that manufacturers and suppliers showed initiative and commitment to acquire the digital tax stamps. The stamps store digital information that can be read with a special device to check if the Excise Tax due has been properly paid.

The scheme will be gradually expanded to cover all tobacco products and support the Authority's efforts to collect taxes, combat tax evasion and protect consumers from low-quality, contraband products that harm their health and the environment, the report said.

"Phase two of the Scheme is scheduled to be launched in the last quarter of 2019, where it will be expanded to cover tobacco products used in shisha and electrically heated cigarette rolls, whether imported or locally produced," Khalid Ali Al Bustani was quoted as saying.