International Experts, Industry and Law Enforcement Join to Combat Illegal Trade and Shadow Economy in Europe
For Immediate Release
23 April 2015
(Bucharest, Romania) - Senior tax policy, tax administration and customs officials from a wide range of Eurasian countries are meeting in Bucharest this week to learn more about the latest strategies to tackle multibillion-dollar revenue losses stemming from illegal trade, counterfeits, and other aspects of the shadow economy.
“This growing and dangerous problem is not just a tax issue – beyond substantial government revenue losses, the impact of illegal trade constrains economic development and raises barriers and costs for international trade,” said Daniel Witt, President of the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC). “It also poses significant health risks, and presents numerous challenges for law enforcement, from violations of intellectual property rights to money laundering and organized crime activity.”
“One of the main issues related to the shadow economy is illegal trade in tobacco products, because it’s linked to organized crime. In this context, cooperation between business and the authorities can help deliver better results in tackling illegal trade in tobacco,” remarked Cristina Vasiloiu, President of Euromonitor Business Consulting Services. She added, “This conference is a unique opportunity to understand the latest trends in illegal trade and techniques for combatting it. The government officials are then equipped to apply these techniques to local circumstances and utilize the contacts made here to facilitate greater information sharing in the future.”
Mr. Dorel Fronea, former Head of the Romanian Customs Authority, recommended measures to decrease the shadow economy and secure the EU border: "Simplify what is legal while preventing what is illegal! Develop an integrated strategy for fighting against illegal movement of goods and customs frauds at the Eastern EU borders. The strategy should be based on three pillars: legislative, administrative and operational, and should also involve cooperation with legitimate producers,” stated Mr. Fronea.
The two-day “International Conference on the Shadow Economy and Taxation” is co-hosted by the International Tax and Investment Center
, a nonprofit research and education organization focused on tax reform and public-private initiatives to improve the investment climate in transition economies, and Euromonitor Business Consulting Services. Expert speakers assembled to address the links between the shadow economy, tax evasion and illegal trade include senior officials from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Customs Organization, Interpol, and Europol, as well as private-sector specialists and leading academics.