Asean members urged to work together to crack down on illegal trade
Asean member countries are being urged to jointly strengthen cross-border regulations to prevent illicit trade by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade and the EU-Asean Business Council.
The alliance on Tuesday released the report "Examining the Negative Impact of Illicit Trade on the Asean Community Vision 2025", saying it demonstrates that illicit trade occurs throughout the Asean region.
Illicit trade affects many sectors, including agri-food, alcohol, fisheries, forestry, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, precious metals and gemstones, pesticides, tobacco, and wildlife, the report said.
It also found in the production of counterfeits in many sectors, the report said.
Jeffrey Hardy, director general of the alliance, said illicit trade is undermining Asean’s goals of driving sustainable economic development, increasing job creation and income, reducing poverty, and improving living standards across the region.
“It is our hope that this report can serve as a roadmap to help policymakers identify areas that merit greater attention and to formulate effective strategies to address the serious threats posed by illicit trade,” he said.
According to the report, illicit trade has damaged key economic sectors in many Asean countries as well as political security and Asean’s social and cultural objectives.
The report highlights how illegal trade is impeding efforts to achieve the Asean Community Vision 2025.
Illegal trade incites violence and strengthens organised crime, while undermining economic growth and tax collection, endangering consumers, and fuelling human trafficking and forced labour, the report says.
Chris Humphrey, executive director of the EU-Asean Business Council, said illegal trade is a persistent problem throughout the region.
“The recommendations in this report can help Asean construct stronger, more resilient economies in their pursuit of the goals outlined in Vision 2025. Governments in the region need to act now, and work closer and smarter with the private sector, in order to reduce and eliminate the adverse impacts of illicit trade on public health and safety, government revenues, jobs and livelihoods,” he said.