International : OECD recommends increased free trade zone transparency to improve the impact of the fight against illicit trade

New OECD guidelines outline the important role free trade zones (FTZ) play in illicit trafficking. According to the Organization, one of the problems of FTZ is that they are operated by licensed private companies – or sometimes by public-private partnerships. This can occasionally lead to a discrepancy between internal FTZ policies and the laws and regulations established by the governments within their jurisdiction.
The OECD also highlights that in some FTZ, competent public authorities may not have physical access to the premises and often face difficulties in obtaining information about the activities of economic operators established within the FTZ. This means that some economic operators “may take advantage of inadequate oversight, control and the lack of transparency in FTZ to commit trade fraud, intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement, smuggle contraband, facilitate the proliferation of weapons and launder the proceeds of crime”.
The OECD recommends that law enforcement authorities and competent public authorities directly monitor trade in FTZ, which includes the right to request access to information concerning the production and circulation of goods and to carry out inspections. The OECD also recommends the adoption of a Code of Conduct for Clean Free Trade Zones which includes “strict control of consignments arriving from, or for which there is evidence of having transited through, FTZ that do not implement the Code of Conduct for Clean Free Trade Zones”.

Source : www.legalinstruments.oecd.org

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