Collaboration, stringent actions against perpetrators & dialogue with private players key to curb illicit activities: World Customs Organisation

NEW DELHI: Mr Maurice Emiola Adéfalou, Technical Officer, IPR, and Health and Safety Programme Manager, Compliance, World Customs Organisation (WCO) yesterday said, “Collaboration, stringent actions against perpetrators and dialogue with private players are key to curb any kind of illicit activities.”


Addressing the ‘In Conversation Series’ organized by FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) Mr Adéfalou while speaking on WCO’s Operation STOP, said that the main objective of the operation was to protect societies from the menace of illicit and spurious medicines, vaccines and medical products during the COVID pandemic. He further stated that the learnings from operation STOP was to work together and be aware and prepared about the market.


Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “Operation STOP which was WCO’s immediate response against illicit trafficking of medicines, vaccines and medical supplies linked to COVID-19 pandemic, played a determinant role in the fight against the illicit trade during this health crisis.”


“The CBIC in India has been a longstanding and valued member of the World Customs Organization. It has a strong cooperation with the WCO in a number of enforcement related areas. During the covid period the Indian Customs, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and other enforcement authorities have seized smuggled, spurious, and counterfeit vaccines sanitizers, masks, PPE Kits, disinfectants, toiletries and cosmetics, electronic goods, cigarettes, spices, alcohol and several other items across various states and in large numbers,” added Mr Rajput.


Mr Najib Shah, Former Chairman, CBIC and Think Tank Member, FICCI CASCADE said, “The need for cooperation between Customs Administrations, enforcement agencies within the country and industry are essential to thwart the growing menace of counterfeit trade.” Issues of the cross-border smuggling, initiatives taken by WCO to arrest this problem and the need for effective collaborations in mitigating this challenge were also discussed.


FICCI CASCADE has been over the years working closely with government, industry, enforcement officials, legal fraternity, consumer organizations and the youth to create awareness on the adverse impact of the problem of counterfeiting and smuggling. Among other activities, FICCI CASCADE has been regularly engaging with law enforcement agencies including police, customs and paramilitary organizations engaged in border protection in sensitizing them on the gravity of the problem.