The French Ministry of Labor and Public Accounts has announced the designation of a senior customs official in Algeria for two years with the aim of countering Algerian cigarette smuggling towards French airports with on focus the port of Marseille, in addition to the exchange of customs agents between ports and airports in both countries so as to curb the illegal trade of cigarettes.
The French Ministry of Labor and Public Accounts, in its reply to the French Senate dated May 16, 2019, said cooperation to combat the smuggling of Algerian cigarettes towards France was further strengthened after the meeting between customs managers of the two countries in May 2018 in the city of Marseille.
The cooperation between the customs of the two countries will continue this year through the designation of a French regional customs advisor in Algiers for two years under the European project with the Algerian customs, aiming to establish a risk analysis center, which will be based on the risk analysis and targeting model of the French Customs.
According to the French ministry, this customs adviser will prepare the work plan for the coming months with the Algerian party and the Italian team “Franco”, and the main goal of the work will be to stem the smuggling of cigarettes from Algeria to France.
The document referred to the establishment of coordinated control steps between the Algerian and French customs, which extends to the exchange of customs officers at the airports and ports of both countries.
This allows for the possibility of deploying French customs agents in Algerian ports and airports to participate in inspections and combat cigarette smuggling.
The objective is also to ensure the exchange of information on the customs inspections of French and Algerian customs agents, to which nationals of both countries will be poised at the border crossings, whether airports or ports.
According to observers, the bilateral agreement on the exchange of customs agents at the ports and airports of the two countries was agreed upon in 2018.
The smuggling of Algerian cigarettes into France has turned into a real nightmare for authorities, either through ports or airports, where seizures hiked by about 50 percent in 2017, according to earlier data from the French authorities.
Algerian cigarettes are popular in various French cities, where one Marlboro brand, for example, is sold in the Paris district of Barbes, from 35 to 40 Euros.
Algerian youths, especially Harraga or illegal migrants in France are often caught up in French police raids because of their involvement in the secret sale of smuggled Algerian cigarettes.