THE EUROPEAN Union Council of Ministers and the European Commission have rejected claims that their new regime setting the minimum EU excise duty rates for cigarettes is so tough and inflexible, it will promote smuggling in countries where consumers usually pay lower duties.

Ministers and the Commission both rejected amendments to the new system that were proposed by the European Parliament that would have introduced an alternative minimum combined rate for of excise and VAT of 71 per cent of the retail sale price of cigarettes. This ...

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