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176 countries agree to fight illicit tobacco trade

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A South Korean Health Ministry official says 176 countries, including European Union members and China, have agreed on an international protocol to eliminate tobacco black markets.

If the protocol is ratified, the countries will be required to introduce systems to track tobacco products and regulate supply chains.

Illegal trade accounts for about 10 percent of the tobacco market and results in lost tax revenue of $40.5 billion annually.

The agreement was reached at a meeting in Seoul of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The parties will also discuss guidelines on taxation.

The United States, Switzerland and Cuba are not bound by the pact since they are not parties to the convention.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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