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Illicit trade in goods causing untold damage to economy and society: Legal Affairs Secretary

Illicit trade in goods causing untold damage to economy and society: Legal Affairs Secretary

NEW DELHI: Suresh Chandra, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, today said that the damaging impact of counterfeiting and smuggling is manifest in loss of industrial growth, the social cost that consumers have to pay and revenue loss to the government.

Addressing the 5th edition of International conference: 'MASCRADE, 2018' organised by FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), Chandra said that producers were adversely affected as counterfeiting and smuggling slows down the growth of their industry, stunts the revenue potential thereby affecting the employment growth in the country. Secondly, it involves a social cost that consumers have to pay. Consumers are the ultimate victims of counterfeiting, smuggling and piracy through excessive prices paid for substandard products that increase exposure to health and safety risks. There is also a revenue loss to the government which has a direct bearing on spending on welfare measures such as on healthcare, education and public transport. Police and other enforcement infrastructure are also hit by this resource crunch which exacerbates the problem of grey market operations.

Highlighting the initiatives of the government to fight the menace of smuggling and counterfeiting, S. Ramesh, Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), said "In today's knowledge-based economy, the phenomenal growth in global trade and technology has positively affected many markets across the world. On the other hand, it has also offered opportunities for organized criminals to engage in illicit trade and counterfeiting". The Indian customs department has been a pioneering partner in facilitation of lawful trade, while curbing smuggled and counterfeit goods. CBIC is committed in fulfilling its role in combating smuggling and counterfeiting in cross border trade. It will relentlessly continue the battle against illicit trade which poses a threat to the national security, he said.

Trade in illicit goods is highly pervasive across countries and sectors, representing a multi-billion-dollar industry globally that continues to grow.

It is estimated that 8%-15% of global GDP is impacted due to illicit trade and criminal activities. Recent studies also estimate that globally the economic value of illicit trade could reach $2.3 trillion by 2022 and the wider social, investment and criminal enforcement costs could take the total to $4.2 trillion, putting at risk about 5.4 million 'legitimate jobs'. Hence, its existence and operation is broad in scope and large in value, impacting not only the global economy, causing losses to both industry and government, but is also adversely affecting the health and safety of

the consumers.

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