Confiscated products at the tobacco Regie's warehouses in Beirut, Thursday, April 2, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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At Lebanon's first national conference to combat illicit trade Wednesday, experts agreed that a multidisciplinary approach between private and public bodies is needed to combat the phenomenon, described as a "destructive crime" that spares none of the country's sectors.This is despite the rising illicit trade of tobacco and other products.Mohammad Zaher, head of fighting illicit trade and counterfeit at Regie, said illicit trade in Lebanon had increased in the past few years, with more than 2,000 related cases pending in court.Seklaoui also said the company's revenue was falling, despite a small bump that he credited to efforts by the Finance Ministry since 2016 .He said smuggling and illicit trade of tobacco products alone cost the government LL300 billion ($198 million) in potential annual revenue.However, Hutter said increasing taxes on products does not guarantee increased tax revenue and instead contributes to an increase in illicit trade.The illicit trade of medicines also poses a direct risk to public health.
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