EghtesadOnline: Tariff on tobacco imports has increased from 5% to 15%.
Criticizing the move to raise tariffs, Chairman of Tobacco Products Importers and Exporters Association Mohammad Reza Tajdar added that the justification presented for raising tariffs includes lending support to tobacco farmers and encouraging tobacco companies to use local products.
Noting that the country’s tobacco industry uses different types of foreign tobacco, Tajdar said locally-harvested tobacco cannot match all tastes so producers have to import tobacco from various tobacco-growing regions.
He put the country’s annual cigarette consumption at 72 billion sticks, of which 49 billion are produced by local factories, Financial Tribune reported.
“Imports from legal ports of entry stand at three billion while the rest of the cigarettes smoked by Iranians are supplied by smugglers,” IRNA quoted Tajdar as saying.
“Producers will lose their market share, if they fail to satisfy the preferences of customers. There are 12 tobacco factories in the country with about 12,000 people on their payrolls.”
According to Ali Asghar Ramzi, the head of Tobacco Planning and Supervision Center, about 20% of Iran’s demand for tobacco are domestically produced.
“Plans have been made to increase land under tobacco cultivation by 500% to achieve self-sufficiency,” he said.
According to Ramzi, imported tobacco is 30-40% more expensive than the local product.
Sixty-five percent of Iran’s tobacco, exceeding 5,000 tons, are cultivated in the northern Iranian province.