Tackling illicit trade

Illicit trade affects almost all sectors of the economy and every country in the world. According to a recent study by the OECD and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), international trade in counterfeit and pirated products accounted for $461 billion and represented 2.5% of world trade in 2013. Against this background, CEPS and MSL invited representatives of the EU, international institutions and private business to a seminar at CEPS on November 6th to discuss “Digital Traceability in the Fight against Illicit Trade”.

General agreement was reached among the participants and experts present on two major points:

  • Deeper understanding is still required of the opportunities and drawbacks of new digital techniques, such as blockchain, to track, trace and authenticate products. In this respect, EU regulatory bodies should set flexible rules allowing relevant stakeholders to seek technical solutions that are fit for specific sectors and can be progressively improved.
  • Cooperation among rights-holders, customs authorities, and intermediaries would make the fight against illicit trade more effective and efficient. Yet the jury is still out when it comes to the best way to foster cooperation among stakeholders. New forms of cooperation need to be swiftly devised, based on reinforced mutual trust among economic operators and public authorities.