Defeat the illicit trade through cooperation with key partners

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  • Illicit trade is a strain on the global economy, and the problem is even more pronounced in Asia-Pacific. It is difficult to accurately gauge the volume of illicit trade in monetary terms, it is clear that significant sums of money are involved, and countries worldwide consider it a priority to respond.
    Highlighting its impact on the Asia-Pacific region, Steven Galster, founder and executive director of the Freeland Foundation, stated that “due to rising affluence in Asia and other major consuming economies, illicit trade volumes have gone up.”
    The World Trade Organizations estimates that the value of counterfeit and pirated goods alone is equivalent to some 7 percent of the world’s merchandise.
    In 2018, a Global Illicit Trade Environment Index has been commissioned to the Economist Intelligence Unit by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT). Myanmar is one of 84 countries featured in the Index. The objective of this project is to improve the knowledge and understanding of the regulatory environment and economic circumstances that enable illicit trade and provide recommendations on priority areas.
    The Anti-Illicit Trade Forum hosted by EuroCham in partnership with TRACIT and the Economist Intelligence Unit, in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday is the first of its kind in Myanmar and it recognizes how valuable information can be used as a tool to raise awareness and mobilize action.
    The anti-illicit trade forum in Nay Pyi Taw is one of Myanmar’s cooperative efforts with key partners to combat illicit trade, corruption, and money-laundering, and to protect communities from the violence, harm, and exploitation brought about by transnational networks.
    Myanmar is implementing the anti-illicit strategy 2018-2021 and is making efforts for emergence of the national-level anti-corruption strategy.
    To fight corruption effectively, the Anti-Corruption Commission submitted amendments for the Anti-Corruption Bill seeking more authority in combating bribery.
    Sub-section (A) of Section-3 of the Anti-Corruption Law with four amendments has prevented corruption and the abuse of power by making use of a position in the government’s administration. Actions can be taken against takers and givers of bribery in accordance with the law.
    At the same time, the Anti-Corruption Commission will continue to enhance international cooperation with key partners to combat the lethal nexus of organized crime, illicit trade, corruption, and money-laundering, and to protect communities from the violence, harm, and exploitation brought about by transnational networks.
    We hope that this forum held in Myanmar would result in effective and practical ways to defeat illicit trade. This dark world of illicit trade is an obstacle to shared prosperity. It breeds corruption by siphoning capital and human resources away from legitimate economic activity.
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