Ref. Ares(2017)5622006 - 17/11/2017
Ref. Ares(2018)4014499 - 30/07/2018
16 November 2017 17:20
(TRADE); [Art. 4.1b]
(TRADE); [Art. 4.1b] (TRADE)
RE: Oman - new customs tariffs on cigarettes
Dear Mr Tóth,
Thank you for your mail of 14 November 2017 including the presentation and summary on a trade
issue concerning tariffs on tobacco products in Oman.
I have taken note of your concerns. Also, I have forwarded your mail and its annexes to my
colleagues dealing with Oman.
Attila Toth [mailto: [Art. 4.1b]
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 12:26 PM
Oman - new customs tariffs on cigarettes
Dear [Art. 4.1b] ,
The reason I am writing you is a trade issue concerning tariffs on tobacco products in Oman where we would
very much appreciate your kind support as the responsible head of unit for the particular product category.
Oman decided to impose new customs tariffs for tobacco products in 2016. Oman’s WTO Schedule binds
cigarettes to a 150% duty on the price of the product. The application of Oman’s new tariff results, for
cigarettes within a certain price range, in the application of duties significantly higher than the 150% bound
rate (Oman has said that they are considering an alternative rate - 15 OMR instead of 20 OMR - but this rate
still violates the bound rate). Oman’s new tariff is thereby a clear violation of its obligation under Article
II.1(b) GATT and is highly disruptive to trade.
Our company has already reached out to DG TRADE’s responsible geographical unit ( [Art. 4.1b]
E3) and even managed to organise a meeting in Geneva with officials from the EU, USA and the Switzerland
discussing the issue. The general consensus at the meeting was that the new tariff rates indeed appear to
violate the WTO bound rates, however due to technical reasons, it was not possible to include this item in
the agenda of the Council for Trade in Goods on 9 November.
We believe it would be beneficial if this issue can be part of the upcoming trade and investment dialogue
between the EU and Oman. Furthermore, we would also appreciate if the EU could propose to include this
issue in the agenda of the “on the ground” dialogue on cooperation in trade issues with the United States
(based on our understanding the EU has already proposed the Gulf Cooperation Council as one potential
area of cooperation) to initiate a joint dialogue with Oman.
Ideally, any bilateral talks should be held as soon as possible and potentially before December (when the
selective rate is expected to be implemented) as this will give Oman the opportunity to revert before the
selective tariffs are in place.
We kindly ask for your support on the above issue.
Let me attach a ppt presentation and a short summary in case you would need further details.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
EU Affairs Director
British American Tobacco
E-mail: [Art. 4.1b]
Transparency Registry number: 2427500388-58
Notice: The information in this document and attachments is confidential and may also be legally
privileged. It is intended only for the use of the named recipient. Internet communications are not
secure and therefore British American Tobacco does not accept legal responsibility for the contents
of this message. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify us immediately and then delete
this document. Do not disclose the contents of this document to any other person, nor take any
copies. Violation of this notice may be unlawful.