Latin American Anti-Smuggling Alliance meets in Bogotá during October


alliance-against-contrabandThe Latin American Anti-Smuggling Alliance, an organization formed by 15 countries in the region, will hold meetings between Bogota on October 5 and 6 to discuss topics related to illicit trade and smuggling. Created in 2016, the Alliance aims to jointly tackle the harmful effects that illegal trade practices bring to public finances, consumer health and job creation in Latin America. Each year, illegal trade directly affects tax collection and public policy development in the countries of the region.

The October meeting aims to establish shared actions among countries to control the illegal trade in cigarettes, textiles, beverages, food, plastics and metals. The Alliance represents Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

On October 6, several working tables will be held between the governments of member countries, companies and unions in the region to establish the Action Plan Against Illicit Trade. Edson Vismona, president of the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition (ETCO) and the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP) will participate in intersectoral workshops that will address the serious problem of cigarette smuggling in Brazil.


Cigarette smuggling in Brazil

Cigarette smuggling is now one of the most serious issues on the agenda of Latin American countries, and Brazil is one of the most affected in this scenario, with about 30% of its market dominated by Paraguayan brands. In 2015 alone, this volume represented a tax evasion of R $ 4,9 billion to public coffers, money that could have been invested in areas such as health, security, housing, among other public policies.

It is necessary that the Brazilian and Paraguayan governments adopt effective measures to combat this problem, but one must go beyond simple police repression, because, although fundamental, it is inefficient when used in isolation. In order to reduce the problem, it is essential that the countries involved adopt tax policies that have the effect of reducing the enormous competitive advantage that smugglers have over legally established industries.


Meeting results

Alliance representatives are expected to present the results of the work during the XXV Iberoamerican Summit of Heads of State and Government, to be held in Cartagena, Colombia, on October 28 and 29.

For Vismona, this is an excellent opportunity for the countries involved to find common ways to combat the illicit market on the continent. “This is an activity that does not respect borders, governments and police authorities. Without coordinated work, with intelligence and mutual cooperation, we will hardly be able to overcome this transnational challenge, ”he said.