Experts from India, overseas to discuss ways to counter smuggling, counterfeiting

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) FICCI Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) is organising its flagship physical event ‘8th edition of MASCRADE’ (Movement Against Smuggling and Counterfeit Trade).

The two-day event is scheduled to be held on September 22-23 on the theme ‘Unleashing the Power of Consumers in the Fight Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting’.

M. Venkaiah Naidu, former Vice President of India, will deliver the inaugural address.

Known to be a renowned international forum, MASCRADE this year will feature several senior functionaries from leading international organisations, such as World Customs Organisation (WCO), INTERPOL, United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), US Homeland Security, and Australian Border Force.

The event will be divided into multiple insightful plenaries in which distinguished Indian and international experts will discuss ways to empower consumers to lead the battle against the menace of smuggling and counterfeiting.

During the course of the event, FICCI CASCADE and Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) will release a detailed report titled ‘Illicit Markets: A Threat to Our National Interests’, which examines the size and scale of illicit market in some of the key Indian industries and assesses its impact on individual industries, employment, government tax collection, and the overall economy.

Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “Due to Covid restrictions in place, we will be meeting in person after a gap of two years. We are looking forward to a highly interactive, insightful, and impactful event this year which will help us strengthen our ongoing battle against smuggling and counterfeiting. India is growing at a fast pace and has tremendous potential to become a world leader in terms of innovation and economy. However, for that, all stakeholders, especially the consumers, will have to come together and take strong measures to beat the menace of illicit trade.”

In the past, MASCRADE has laid strong focus on smuggling of goods in certain key sectors, economic impact of illicit trade, and how funds accumulated from smuggling are used by criminal syndicates to sponsor terror activities and social unrest. However, this is the first time that the event will have consumer at the centre, focusing on the many ways in which people can put an end to illicit trade.

Apart from hurting individual industries, smuggling, and counterfeiting take a massive toll on employment generation and economic growth. They also severely hurt consumer interest, as scores of people fall prey to expired and substandard products. Further, illicit trade acts as a double whammy for the government, which while losing out on legitimate tax revenue, has to allocate additional resources on enforcement and public health.

Illicit trade has been termed as the crime of the 21st century on the account of its impact on all world economies, be it the developed or the emerging ones. Despite global efforts, it continues to grow into a lucrative proposition for some, at the cost of causing significant losses for the industry, governments, and society at large. Regardless of different approaches to this complex issue, the effects of illicit trade are numerous and socio-economically significant. It is a serious problem, and its impact is far-reaching, affecting various stakeholders, including the government, domestic industries, the entire economy, and citizens of the country.

While severely impacting legal trade, the demand-supply disruptions amid the global Covid-19 pandemic have provided criminals unparalleled opportunities to increase their already significant illicit activities. According to multiple international reports, the ongoing pandemic has caused an increase in illicit trade activities across an array of industries, including tobacco, alcoholic drinks, home and personal sanitizing products, among many others.

Like previous years, FICCI CASCADE will organise an Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Smuggling Awards and Felicitation Ceremony at MASCRADE 2022 to honour enforcement officers, school children and journalists for their efforts towards countering illicit trade.



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