The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade and the EU-ASEAN Business Council have called upon ASEAN member countries to join forces in bolstering cross-border regulations to tackle illicit trade.
In their recent report titled “Examining the Negative Impact of Illicit Trade on the ASEAN Community Vision 2025,” the alliance highlights the widespread occurrence of illicit trade within the ASEAN region. The report reveals that illicit trade significantly affects various sectors, including agri-food, alcohol, fisheries, forestry, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, precious metals and gemstones, pesticides, tobacco, and wildlife.
Jeffrey Hardy, the director general of the alliance, emphasizes that illicit trade undermines ASEAN’s objectives of promoting sustainable economic development, job creation, poverty reduction, and improved living standards throughout the region.
According to the report, illicit trade has caused considerable damage to key economic sectors in several ASEAN countries and has hampered political security, as well as the social and cultural goals of ASEAN. It further highlights how illegal trade fuels violence, strengthens organized crime, hinders economic growth and tax collection, endangers consumers, and contributes to human trafficking and forced labor.
Chris Humphrey, the executive director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, stated that illegal trade remains a persistent problem throughout the region. He urges governments in the region to take immediate action, fostering closer collaboration and smarter engagement with the private sector to mitigate and eliminate the adverse impacts of illicit trade on public health and safety, government revenues, jobs, and livelihoods. (NNT)