PMI Partners with U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Combatting Illicit Trade
Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE: PM) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist and support Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) illicit tobacco trade operations and other intellectual property rights investigations.
“We are thrilled to partner with DHS and the IPR Center to combat the illicit tobacco trade,” said PMI’s head of illicit trade prevention for the U.S. Hernan Albamonte. “This partnership will provide both parties necessary information to thwart terrorist and criminal organizations that profit from the trade of illicit tobacco and jeopardize our national security.”
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The MOU is focused on comprehensive strategies and coordinating efforts to disrupt and combat all forms of illicit tobacco trade, as well as to address vital areas of intellectual property, brand protection, and anti-counterfeiting strategies. The agreement will also facilitate knowledge transfer between the center and PMI to share mutually beneficial information and research to combat the illicit tobacco trade and assist in other intellectual property rights investigations.
“The agreement being signed today, is a continuation of a years-long partnership between the IPR Center and PMI to protect the American public by enforcing the nation’s intellectual property rights laws and educating consumers on the dangers of illicitly traded tobacco products. The IPR Center will leverage this robust public-private partnership to develop outreach, training efforts and share referral information to open investigations and target these criminal acts,” said Steve Francis, IPR Center director.
Following an unprecedented year—when criminal and terrorist organizations swiftly adapted and migrated their operations to suit the new environment—this partnership illustrates how public- and private-sector cooperation can make full use of existing expertise and information sharing to foster innovative solutions and evolving technologies.
In 2020, PMI recognized the urgent need to convene a myriad group of government, diplomatic, public, and private institutions to advance solutions to strengthen national security by upping the fight against illicit products—from illicit tobacco-containing products to faulty personal protective equipment (PPE). These successes include: