Contrary to reports in some media, citing unnamed, anonymous sources, Gibraltar is in full compliance with the terms of the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on Tobacco and other Products.
The memorandum on tobacco specifically limits the difference between the retail price of tobacco in Gibraltar and in Spain as well as providing for exchange of information mechanisms concerning tobacco importation and sales. This information is obviously commercially sensitive and therefore confidential.
In fact, although the said Memorandum of Understanding is no longer in effect, Gibraltar has honoured all aspects of it and has not failed to continue to increase tobacco prices to give effect to the 32% differential agreed from Spanish prices.
Additionally, Gibraltar law enforcement has not failed to provide any information requested from them by Spanish colleagues or to cooperate when asked to do so.
The media reports in question furthermore completely misunderstands the figures of the latest revision to the Tobacco Zone legislation, asserting that a commercial quantity of 200 cartons (40,000 cigarettes) is generally permitted in Gibraltar when that figure is in fact 10 cartons (2,000 cigarettes). In the restricted areas, the permitted quantity is 3 cartons, not 60 cartons as they publish.
Both HM Customs and the RGP are actively enforcing anti-smuggling legislation in Gibraltar with arrests and seizures being effected regularly.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo KC MP, said: “We are at a sensitive stage of negotiations and the public in Gibraltar should not be surprised to see certain sections of the media in Spain being used to seek to increase pressure on the Government in the negotiations. His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar will never fail to comply with its legal obligations and will not fail to cooperate with law enforcement colleagues. It is ludicrous for any media anywhere to suggest the contrary and we whilst we will not usually comment on anonymous badmouthing of Gibraltar in Spain, we will not permit our compliance with obligations and the good name of our law enforcement officers to be besmirched in this way.”