Cuba Increases Control on Cigars
August 26, 2009
HAVANA TIMES, Aug. 25 (IPS) – Cuban customs authorities have increased
the control of Cuban cigars leaving the country with the introduction of
a new resolution. The new law states that the 50 cigars travelers are
currently allowed to take out of the country without a receipt must be
in sealed and stamped genuine cigar boxes with an official hologram sticker.
The new regulation was passed on July 10 and comes into effect on
October 10. It replaces a 2007 regulation that allowed travelers to
have up to 50 cigars either in boxes or loose without any receipt.
The new regulations also allows for up to 20 cigars (a box usually has
25) without a receipt or any other requirement. For amounts above 50
cigars, a guarantee of origin slip is required.
Cuban cigars have suffered from falsifications at an international
level, in addition to a black market in Cuba, stoked by the economic crisis.
Many of the two million tourists who travel to Cuba each year bring
cigars back home with them, which amounts to a significant number of
cigars leaving the country by this method.
Boxes of Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta or Montecristo cigars cost between US
$100 and $450 in the official stores, depending on the brand. On the
black market, the same box of cigars goes for between US $25 and $40.
News reports state that lawyers from the Habanos S.A. company say that
customs restrictions are aimed at reducing falsifications and black
market products that damage the image and profits of the Cuban cigar brands.
Cuba sold US $390 million worth of cigars in 2008, 3% below 2007
figures. Sales for the current year are also expected to be lower due to
the international crisis and anti-smoking campaigns.
Cuba Increases Control on Cigars – Havana Times.org (26 August 2009)