Illicit trade has been called “the main obstacle to the development of Myanmar’s economy”. EuroCham Myanmar and its members, through the Anti-Illicit Trade Initiative, strive to assist the government in its efforts to combat illicit trade in all of its forms. Illicit trade affects all parts of Myanmar’s economy, ranging from trafficking in persons, wildlife and narcotics to the smuggling of sub-standard counterfeit goods, such as medicines or food products. These activities represent a crucial source of revenue for criminal networks, and undermine good governance and the rule of law in the country.
The Anti-Illicit Trade Initiative works to raise awareness of the volume of illicit trade across all economic sectors, as well as the consequences it has in many areas, such as tax revenues and public health The Initiative works with government stakeholders and the general public, while advocating for solutions and best practices that can be implemented to improve enforcement. EuroCham Myanmar and the Anti-Illicit Trade Initiative believe that combatting illicit trade will have very positive effects: tax revenues will increase and allow Myanmar to address its development needs, criminal networks will be deprived of their income, and it will show international investors that Myanmar can effectively protect its market.
The main objectives of the Initiative are:
- To establish EuroCham Myanmar’s Anti-illicit Trade Initiative as a primary stakeholder in the fight against illicit trade in Myanmar
- To become the preferred partner of choice of the Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee, a cross government group charged with combatting illicit trade
Advisory Steering Committee
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While the Government of Myanmar has taken significant steps to combat illicit trade, like setting up the Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee, there are still many issues that affect illicit trade. Porous borders and a lack of law enforcement personnel allow criminals to smuggle illegal goods through the borders, while high tax rates and burdensome regulations make legal goods less competitive. For more information, please consult EuroCham Myanmar’s 2020 White Book.
- Organization of the second edition of the Anti-Illicit Trade Forum, with attendance of high- level government officials, including H.E. U Soe Win, Union Minister of Planning and Finance
- Publication of the study on the loss of taxes due to illicit trade in Myanmar (link). the study showed that at a minimum, the value for illicit trade in Myanmar was 6.4 billion USD
- Transformation of the Anti-Illicit Trade Advocacy Group into the EuroCham Anti-Illicit Trade Initiative
- Signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) a worldwide business initiative to combat illicit trade