On January 30th, 2021, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi promulgated Law no. 170 of 2020 to ratify the Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.

This protocol is the first of its kind with regards to implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (“FCTC”) and acts as a new international treaty in its own right. It was adopted by consensus in November 2012 at the fifth session held by the parties to the WHO FCTC. The Protocol was built upon and complements Article 15 of the WHO FCTC, which addresses means of countering illicit trade in tobacco products.

In particular, the protocol aims to secure the supply chain of tobacco products, set the respective measures, establish a global tracking and tracing regime through a global information-sharing point, and set provisions to ensure control of the supply chain cover licensing, due diligence, record keeping, and security and preventive measures. It also includes illegal acts and criminal or non-criminal sanctions, each in accordance with the internal law of each party to the Protocol.

Moreover, measures in relation to the internet and telecommunication-based sales, duty-free sales, and international transit (free zones) were not neglected by the protocol since any legal or natural person engaged in any transaction with regard to tobacco products through technology-based means must also comply with all relevant obligations stated within the protocol. Further, the Protocol prohibits any natural or legal person from engaging in any such activity except under a license issued by each party in accordance with its internal policies and procedures.

Finally, this protocol is a milestone in strengthening global action against the illicit tobacco trade. The Egyptian state's inclusion of this protocol within its laws is a legislative resurgence, showing a real desire to eliminate illegal trade in tobacco products as well as corruption in all its forms to achieve sustainable development.

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