The WCO published its 2014 ‘Illicit Trade Report’, which pulls customs seizure data from around the world to provide a comparative analysis of trends and patterns in five (5) key risk areas for customs enforcement: Drugs, Environment, Intellectual Property Rights, Health and Safety, Revenue, and Security.
Drug seizures as a whole were down in 2014, but the relatively new category of ‘New Psychoactive Substances’ (NPS) skyrocketed from 3 tons to 81 tons between 2013-2014. NPS are those drugs designed to mimic established drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD.
In the area of ‘Environment’, trade in illegal wildlife and ozone depleting substances was up. Seizures made on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations were up 22%, with pharmaceuticals making up half the total 29,369 seizures reported. Smartphones and sporting gear replaced luxury brands as the top ranked counterfeit items.
The number of cigarette seizures was down 33%, but the total number of actual cigarettes rose slightly to 2.8M. Seized ammunition rose three times higher than 2013.
Said the WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, “The Report provides important indicators, as well as invaluable insights, for policymakers and leaders around the world to better comprehend and tackle illicit trade. Offering a comprehensive and global analysis, it can be used to identify high-risk areas specific to particular regions or commodities, and develop policies to tackle these risks”.