Ecuador currently ranks 60th out of 84 countries evaluated for illicit trade prevention or enabling according to the Global Illicit Trade Environment index, serving as a primary location for illicit trade inclusive of tobacco, alcohol, textiles and untaxed market imports.
Illicit trade concerns were the primary focus during a recent conference with Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) this week. During the conference, government officials and stakeholders were confronted on the ranking and the current issues within the illicit trade region in an effort for increased regulation.
“The findings are intended to help policy makers better understand the regulatory environment and economic circumstances that enable illicit trade,” TRACIT Director-General Jeffrey Hardy said. “It can help the government take steps to improve Ecuador’s defense against the import of illicit products and to prevent extraction and exploitation of timber, marine and mineral resources.”
Ecuador was presented a set of regulatory recommendations in an effort to combat illicit trade during the conference. Some of the recommendations included:
-Strengthen interagency cooperation at the regional and national level
-Intensify public-private coordination
-Ensure the adoption and full enforcement of anti-money laundering regulations
-Improve public awareness and education on the threat of illicit trade.
“Ecuador already has many important laws in place to address Illicit trade, money laundering and corruption,” Hardy said. “But findings from the Global Illicit Trade Environment Index show that much more attention must be given to enforcement and improved regulation. Ecuador can no longer afford to look the other way on illicit trade.”