Inconsistent penalties, insufficient checks on small parcels and a lack of information on shipments in free trade zones let criminals traffic billions of dollars worth of fake and prohibited goods each year.
It turns out that Finland has the best environment to combat the aforementioned. According to The Global Illicit Trade Environment Index released on Thursday, Finland has the best environment for preventing illicit trade. The index was released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The Index, commissioned by The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT), looks at 84 economies.
Finland tops the government policy category and ranks 5th in the supply and demand category.
Europe on top
Europe is the best performing region of the four in the index, scoring twelve points higher on its overall score than the next closest region, Asia.
Europe tops all categories in the index, including the customs environment, where it scores 79.0, far above than the three other regions.
The Asia-Pacific, which includes 21 economies, comes second, ahead of the 19 economies in the Americas region and ten economies of the Middle East and Africa.
The Middle East and Africa region score worst
No region outside of Europe performs particularly well, with average scores ranging from a low 42.0 in supply and demand for the Americas to 63.0 in customs environment for the Asia-Pacific.
The Middle East and Africa region are dragged down by the presence of Libya and Iraq, two almost-lawless economies that score at or near the bottom of all the categories and indicators.
The main white paper also looks at the results of key indicators related to corruption, cybersecurity and intellectual property protections and transparency and human trafficking.
In these and other areas of illicit trade, the results of the index are dispiriting, with the overall average score being just 60.0; the supply and demand and transparency trade categories were generally the worst in the index. The paper is published along with a series of a regional paper and a brief focused on free trade zones.