In terms of counterfeiting and smuggling, illicit trade makes up a vast ‘global businesses’, representing a multibillion-dollar illegal industry that creates a significant drain on the world economy. The practice of illicit trade not only negatively impacts the economy of the nations but also poses a serious threat to health conditions of the individuals, especially during the time of COVID-19 pandemic.
FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy organised an ‘In Conversation with Mr. Maurice Emiola Adéfalou, Technical Officer, IPR, and Health and Safety Programme Manager in Compliance, WCO’ on 11th October 2021. The session was organised to discuss the menace of cross-border trafficking of products and to find ways and means to address the growing hazards of smuggling and counterfeiting across the nations.
Addressing the ‘In Conversation Series’, Mr Adéfalou while speaking on WCO’s Operation STOP, said that the main objective of the operation was to protect societies from the menace of illicit and spurious medicines, vaccines and medical products during the COVID pandemic. He further stated that the learnings from operation STOP was to work together and be aware and prepared about the market.” “Collaboration, stringent actions against perpetrators and dialogue with private players are key to curb any kind of illicit activities”, stressed Mr. Adefalou.
Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE while addressing the session said, “Operation STOP which was WCO’s immediate response against illicit trafficking of medicines, vaccines and medical supplies linked to COVID-19 pandemic, played a determinant role in the fight against the illicit trade during this health crisis.” He said that the CBIC in India has been a longstanding and valued member of the World Customs Organization. “It has a strong cooperation with the WCO in a number of enforcement related areas. During the covid period the Indian Customs, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and other enforcement authorities have seized smuggled, spurious, and counterfeit vaccines sanitizers, masks, PPE Kits, disinfectants, toiletries and cosmetics, electronic goods, cigarettes, spices, alcohol and several other items across various states and in large numbers,” Mr. Rajput added.
Mr. Najib Shah, Former Chairman, CBIC and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE said, “The need for cooperation between Customs Administrations, enforcement agencies within the country and industry are essential to thwart the growing menace of counterfeit trade.” Issues of the cross-border smuggling, initiatives taken by WCO to arrest this problem and the need for effective collaborations in mitigating this challenge were also discussed.
Watch the session at: https://youtu.be/b7-Zl5NXZts