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NEW YORK - The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT), was launched on Wednesday to stop the significant and growing economic and social damages caused by illicit trade.

TRACIT Director-General, Jeffrey Hardy said: "Illicit trade has grown well beyond the capabilities of individual governments and individual companies and now demands a sustained, coordinated response. Business has an important role to help shape this response, and today we’re launching the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade to intensify business collaboration with governments and inter-governmental organizations to mitigate the social and economic harms of illicit trade."

According to TRACIT, the major problems for a growing number if industries are the illegal trade in:

- Agri-foods. 
- Alcohol. 
- Fisheries.
- Pesticides. 
- Petroleum. 
- pharmaceuticals. 
- Precious metal and gemstones.
- Tobacco.
- Wildlife.
- All sorts of products vulnerable to trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.
- Trafficking in persons.

In 2014 the World Economic Forum estimated that the value of illicit trade and transnational criminal activities are between 8% and 15% of the global GDP.

Hardy said: "The economic losses are staggering, in terms of lost market share, slower growth and rising supply chain compliance, security and insurance costs, but these costs multiply when accounting for drains on tax revenue, the use of forced labor, obstruction of sustainable development, organized crime, terrorism and the plundering of natural resources."

TRACIT said they are a private sector initiative that connects and mobilizes business across industry sectors and national borders. Its work program focuses on strengthening the business response to illicit trade by exchanging information and mitigation tactics in and across key industry sectors and reducing vulnerabilities in supply chains, including transportation, digital channels, free trade zones and financial networks."

P&G Global Brand Protection Leader, Shelley Duggan said: "The role of efficient and effective supply chains has never been more important. TRACIT can help us protect our global supply chain from exploitation by illicit traders, thereby lowering compliance costs, improving efficiencies and delivering quality to our consumers worldwide."

According to a statement by TRACIT they promote a more holistic approach to government enforcement and this by contributing industry best practices to strengthen not only policies but also legislation, institutions and enforcement mechanisms.

By doing this they are closing governance gaps that facilitate illicit trade.

enior Advisor at the US Department of Homeland Security, Charles Wollenhaupt said: "There is a great need for mapping stakeholders, connecting resources and improving our intelligence. I believe there is a critical role for TRACIT to relay the voice of business into the government's policy and regulatory process regarding illicit trade."

Illicit trade by global governance bodies is widely regarded as a serious problem presenting significant obstacles to economic and social development.

"Heightened concerns over security, terrorism, organised crime, sustainability and consumer protection are compelling governments to strengthen efforts to combat illicit trade," according to a statement by TRACIT.

"Our work with governments aims at driving action with global governance bodies and promoting systemic approaches, interconnected strategies and shared resources," said Hardy.

TRANCIT stated that "in response to the social and economic impact of illicit trade no fewer than twenty UN agencies and regional governance bodies address the problem through anti-illicit trade activities."

AIRCOP Global Coordinator at UNODC, Cécile Plunet said: "The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) actively works against illicit trade worldwide. We value any kind of expertise and contributions provided by public-private partnerships with businesses such as the ones provided by TRACIT."

TRACIT said that they draw form industry strengths as well as market experience as a means to build habits of cooperation between business, government, intergovernmental organizations and the diverse group of countries that have limited capacities for regulatory enforcement.

Director of Public Governance at the OECD, Rolf Alter said: "The OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade works with governments to better understand the full range of complex risks and threats posed to our global economies."

"We depend on public-private partnerships with business to implement our work and value TRACIT’s expertise and contributions to our Task Force. An effective response requires co-ordination within and across countries, involving different stakeholders. Businesses that operate on the international stage are well-positioned to play an important role in helping to identify and address the interconnections between different forms of illicit trade," Alter concluded.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE