Public governance

Countering Illicit Trade


9 March 2018
EU-OECD High Level Seminar on Countering Illicit Trade, European Commission, Brussels.

Inconsistent penalties, insufficient checks on small parcels, and a lack of information on shipments in free trade zones let criminals traffic billions of dollars worth of fake and prohibited goods each year.

The study Governance Frameworks to Counter Illicit Trade takes a first look at the ineffective penalties and sanctions around the shipping of counterfeit goods, the lack of screening of small parcels and the lack of visibility around goods passing through free trade zones – and how international criminal networks take advantage of these gaps. This new work helps to analyse how poor implementation of policies against illicit trade, and a lack of coordination across borders, is allowing criminal networks to evade detection and enforcement.

The report also reviews how rapid growth in the use of postal and courier services, as well as online sales, is driving more illicit trade in small shipments as governments cannot effectively screen and interdict goods.

Finally, the report identifies how free trade zones – separate, duty-free customs areas inside a single country – may become safe havens for criminal networks looking to move illicit goods.



See the report

Executive summary

Press release


1 March 2018
Washington, DC, USA.  Launch of the report Governance Frameworks to Counter Illicit Trade.  A recording form the event is available below.