The WCO publishes the 2014 Illicit Trade Report

07 December 2015

The WCO has released the 2014 Illicit Trade Report, which contains five sections covering Drugs; Environment; IPR, Health and Safety; Revenue; and Security. The Report provides a comparative analysis of trends and patterns in these five key risk areas of enforcement, based on Customs seizures submitted to the WCO Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) database by reporting WCO Members. The objective of the Report is to raise awareness on emerging threats, highlight Customs efforts and contribute information to help Customs authorities to develop efficient enforcement strategies.

Being a global repository of data primarily derived from Customs seizures, the CEN database is a tool for global and regional analysis and to provide trends and patterns. It includes information on the activity of Customs administrations around the world and the challenges they face in their activities. The database also contains information on new routings and modus operandi used by traffickers, smugglers and organized criminal networks.

Compared with the analysis of trends and patterns in the 2013 Report, the 2014 Report includes the following:

• In the drugs area, the quantity of substances seized in 2014 has decreased. However, an increase in a new drug category of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) was observed. Overall, there were seizures of approximately 1,253 tonnes of cannabis (herbal and resin), 343 tonnes of psychotropic substances, 107 tonnes of khat, 66 tonnes of cocaine, and 11 tonnes of heroin. The NPS seizures raised from approximately 3 tonnes in 2013 to 81 tonnes in 2014.

• In the area of illegal wildlife trade, rhino and elephant populations continue being the most common target in Africa with an overall upward trend, while there is also an observable increase of illegal trade in stony corals. The illegal trade in hazardous and other waste continues being a serious global threat along with illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances.

• For IPR, an increase of reporting cases was observed, with 24,092 cases in 2013 and 29,369 cases in 2014. Pharmaceutical products remain the predominant seizure reporting category, accounting for half of the total seizures, followed by clothing and accessories, computers, footwear and electronic appliances. For top ranked counterfeited brands in terms of number of cases, luxury brands were replaced by smartphones and sports brands.

• In the area of excise goods, a strong decrease in the number of cigarette seizures from 7,346 in 2013 to 4,887 in 2014 was observed. However, the quantity of seized cigarettes raised from 2,698 million pieces in 2013 to 2,838 million pieces in 2014. For other tobacco products, most categories recorded a decrease in terms of number and quantity of seizures. The 2014 edition of the Report also contains information on seizures of alcohol and alcoholic beverages, fuel products, as well as a sub-section on money laundering.

• The security section contains information and statistics on seizures of weapons, ammunition and explosives. There was a notable increase in the seized quantity of ammunitions from 1,26 million pieces in 2013 to 5,39 million pieces in 2014. The dual-use precursor chemicals continue to be a major threat in the making of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by Violent Extremist Organizations.

"The 2014 Illicit Trade 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", said the WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya. He also thanked Customs administrations for providing information for the Report which reflects their commitment in combating illicit trade.