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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 1, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBILL WOULD EXEMPT PERSONAL TOBACCO FROM BAN

BILL WOULD EXEMPT PERSONAL TOBACCO FROM BAN

A bill to modify a federal law that forbids the taking of personal purchases of tobacco products marked for "export only" from the territory back to the U.S. mainland was introduced in Congress Tuesday by Rep. Charles Rangel (D, NY).
Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen had lobbied her colleagues to seek the change. "I intend to work with Congressman Rangel to get this bill passed into law as soon as possible," she said in a release Wednesday.
She had announced earlier this month that she was working with Rangel, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Taxation Committee, to draft an amendment to a 1997 statute which prohibits the re-importation of U.S.-made, tax-free tobacco products bearing the "export only" label.
If approved by the Joint Taxation Committee, the bill will then have to go through the full legislative process.
Meantime, Christensen is continuing her efforts to get the administration to resolve the issue on an interim basis while the legislation is pending. She has appealed to President Clinton to suspend seizures until the matter can be appropriately addressed.
Tourists taking tobacco products into the U.S. are now being stopped by U.S. Customs agents and having their cigarettes confiscated. The Source reported earlier this month that cruise ship passengers were being told that they would not be allowed to take back home U.S. tobacco products purchased in the Virgin Islands.
The effective halt of tobacco sales represents a loss of revenue to the V.I. estimated at up to $20 million a year. Dominick Codispot of West Indies Corp. said WICorp. pays the government $1 million a year in excise and gross receipts taxes on tobacco. Tourists are allowed to take home up to five cartons of cigarettes purchased in the territory duty free.
The conflict stems from a misleading interpretation of the 1997 statute, according to V.I. lobbyist Peter Hiebert of Washington, D.C. He terms it an "overly broad" reading of the law, which was not intended to affect tobacco purchases for personal use.

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A bill to modify a federal law that forbids the taking of personal purchases of tobacco products marked for "export only" from the territory back to the U.S. mainland was introduced in Congress Tuesday by Rep. Charles Rangel (D, NY).
Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen had lobbied her colleagues to seek the change. "I intend to work with Congressman Rangel to get this bill passed into law as soon as possible," she said in a release Wednesday.
She had announced earlier this month that she was working with Rangel, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Taxation Committee, to draft an amendment to a 1997 statute which prohibits the re-importation of U.S.-made, tax-free tobacco products bearing the "export only" label.
If approved by the Joint Taxation Committee, the bill will then have to go through the full legislative process.
Meantime, Christensen is continuing her efforts to get the administration to resolve the issue on an interim basis while the legislation is pending. She has appealed to President Clinton to suspend seizures until the matter can be appropriately addressed.
Tourists taking tobacco products into the U.S. are now being stopped by U.S. Customs agents and having their cigarettes confiscated. The Source reported earlier this month that cruise ship passengers were being told that they would not be allowed to take back home U.S. tobacco products purchased in the Virgin Islands.
The effective halt of tobacco sales represents a loss of revenue to the V.I. estimated at up to $20 million a year. Dominick Codispot of West Indies Corp. said WICorp. pays the government $1 million a year in excise and gross receipts taxes on tobacco. Tourists are allowed to take home up to five cartons of cigarettes purchased in the territory duty free.
The conflict stems from a misleading interpretation of the 1997 statute, according to V.I. lobbyist Peter Hiebert of Washington, D.C. He terms it an "overly broad" reading of the law, which was not intended to affect tobacco purchases for personal use.