Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And the Camel They Rode In On

The Mexican Congress voted yesterday to impose a seven-peso (60 cents) tax on cigarette sales here, meaning the cost of a pack is likely to climb above two dollars. Realizing that this would be a serious financial hardship for most small children, the foreign companies that dominate the Mexican market have gone scarlet with rage:

Philip Morris and British American Tobacco announced that due to the increase in the Special Tax on Production and Services both companies will withdraw their investments due to lack of legal certainty.

In a statement, Philip Morris said that this kind of impromptu decision "seriously puts at risk our investment and expansion plans and threatens hundreds of jobs directly and indirectly."

There's a long tradition of wealthy drug cartels pushing around the Mexican government, you see.

We hope the Congress is aware that this is what the tobacco companies always say when they're threatened, and they never follow through. The Mexican market is worth 50 billion pesos a year, and PM and BAT account for nearly 100% of that, so the idea that they're going to pull out of Mexico is simply laughable. A pack of Marlboros costs 135 pesos in New York City, and Philip Morris kept their headquarters on 42nd St. until a corporate restructuring a couple years ago. In fact, we suggest the Mexican Congress call Philip Morris and explain that it's all been a terrible mistake - that the tax increase is actually 70 pesos, not seven - and then sit back and wait for them to "withdraw their investments." It'll be a long wait, boys, so smoke 'em if you got 'em.

And if we're wrong (which we aren't)? Then we say adios and good riddance. Some of you may have read that Mexico is in the middle of a violent drug war that is escalating wildly out of control, turning this once beautiful country into free-fire killing zone. The unofficial body count looks likely to top 10,000 dead this year - a genuinely staggering, utterly unacceptable number.

Now, just triple that, and you'll have half the number of dead Mexicans Joe Camel and his pals racked up this year.


Anonymous said...

Oh My, I hope they leave the country. It would be the dream of any country's health minister.b

Mexfiles said...

Or, for Cigatam to pick up the lucrative Canadian export market, which accounts for most of PM and BT's Mexican production.

Burro Hall said...

Cigatam is PM. There's no escaping these guys.

Anonymous said...

Maybe RJReynolds would care to get involved.

Seems they have considerable expertise in dealing with corruption.