Treasury fills the border with tobacconists in search of squeezing income from the French market
The Treasury's first concession in almost twenty years of tobacconist licenses is quite generous with the border towns with France, major points of tobacco sales because they are places of passage, but, above all, because they are frequented by French citizens who cross the border with Spain to buy packs at prices that, on average, are half that of their country. There are 203 licenses for the entire country, of which thirty of them (15%) are located in seven municipalities that are a few kilometers from the Gallic country. Municipalities that are mostly sparsely populated, but that will receive a disproportionate number of licenses in light of the national standard of tobacconists per inhabitant. In La Junquera (Gerona), a town with just over 3,000 inhabitants but where it is not uncommon to see long lines of French citizens lining up to buy tobacco - much cheaper than in the neighboring country - they will have seven tobacconists operations to have 17 tobacco outlets. A growth that will also be seen in the small town of Lés (Lérida), where all the new licenses that the Treasury has planned in this call for that province are located. There the number of licenses will triple from the current two to six. The same thing happens in Navarre. Of the eleven new licenses planned in the territory, ten go to municipalities bordering France. Special mention to the area of Dancharinea (Urdax), which will go from three to seven tobacconists, one of the key locations for French people looking to buy at much more advantageous prices than in their country. Valcarlos (1), Vera de Bidasoa (2) and Valle de Egües, which adds two, also receive new permits. For its part, on the border of the Basque Country with France, the only large town in this cast, Irún, receives five new tobacconists. The official explanation of the Ministry of Finance for this concentration of new licenses in border areas is that "commercial and population" criteria have been followed to determine the location of the 203 new tobacco outlets. Desktop code Image for mobile, amp and app Mobile code AMP code 1160 APP code What the data does say, however, is that while the normal proportion of tobacconists in the national territory as a whole ranges between three and four establishments for each 10,000 inhabitants, at strategic border points such as La Junquera the proportion will be one tobacconist for every 188 inhabitants, that is, fifty for every 10,000 inhabitants following the previous proportion. The average in Catalonia is 2.2 per 10,000 people. Commercial reasons The Treasury seems to have prevailed in this announcement the commercial criterion over the population one. It has its reasons, mainly economic. In a context in which national consumption shows symptoms of stagnation, according to data provided by the Tobacco Market Commissioner, consumption at the border soared by 16% in 2021 and now represents 6% of the total sale of cigarettes in Spain and, therefore, a similar proportion of the fiscal income obtained by the public coffers from the sale of tobacco. The progression is significantly more powerful this year where until June consumption at the border is growing at rates of 43%, according to official data. The deployment of the new points of sale of tobacco on the border with France -an administrative concession dependent on the State- takes place in this context, with sales at the border growing exponentially and assuming an increasingly important percentage of the State's income from This concept. Related News standard No New tobacco prices in force in Spain after its publication in the BOE ABC The Official Gazette publishes the update of the cost for the consumer of the products purchased at the tobacconist According to a KPMG study, more than 5% of the cigarettes that they were consumed throughout France last year they were bought in Spain: we are talking about 2,640 million cigarettes, that is, 132 million packs, at a rate of about five euros on average, of which a significant part is taxes. A business of millionaire magnitude and growing despite the demanding customs limits applied by France to the rest of the countries of the European Union, which prevent the introduction of more than two hundred cigarettes per person (one carton) at the sale price of the country of origin. Above that amount, the French government understands that the carrying of tobacco is for commercial purposes. The dark side of the business Despite being a legal trade, as long as it occurs under the terms established by the French Government, different reports have put on the table the risks involved in this cross-border flow of tobacco. One of them was issued by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, a kind of laboratory of ideas of the Ministry of Finance, in 2017 and already warned of the risk that border traffic would feed the illegal market, either by reintroducing tobacco into a different market. of legal origin behind the back of the legal distribution circuit or by circumventing franchise regimes, such as the one established by France. The authors of the report, one of whom has a relevant position in the current structure of the Ministry of Finance, then advocated adjusting tobacco sales in the territories to domestic consumption patterns to avoid potential illegal flows. It is not the criterion of the new call for tobacconists.