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ITIC: A Foundation Directly Sponsored by Transnational Tobacco Companies

The International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) is a U.S.-based non-profit research and education organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. ITIC describes itself as an independent clearinghouse for best practices in taxation and investment policy that provides “its sponsors a seat at the policymaking table.”

ITIC’s main sponsors are large multinational corporations from the oil, alcohol and tobacco industries. ITIC’s sponsors include all of the leading transnational tobacco companies, and its Board of Directors includes representatives from BAT, PMI, JTI and Imperial Tobacco.

Internal tobacco industry documents made public through U.S.-based litigation settlements in 1998 disclose that ITIC has long played a role in facilitating the tobacco industry’s access to government officials. For example, a 1997 internal R.J. Reynolds memo describes ITIC’s role in assisting RJR and PMI in favourable tax reform in Russia.

ITIC provides advice to governments on tobacco tax issues. They hold workshops and meetings and provide technical advice through paid experts. They sponsor reports on illicit trade, producing illicit trade estimates with poorly defined methodology and often exaggerated rates of illicit trade. ITIC uses their workshops, contacts and research to push for tax systems and rates that benefit the industry over public health.

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