Risk governance

Risk Management: Illicit Trade and the Illegal Economy


26 October 2012


Workshop - OECD Headquarters, Paris


"Assessing the harms posed by illicit trade and the illegal economy for global supply chain integrity, economic growth, and market security"

Illicit trade carried out by transnational criminal actors poses a significant threat with growing global risks in OECD countries and beyond. The objective of the workshop is for leading experts from the public and private sectors to examine the full scale and impact of these global risks and share good practices and policy responses to mitigate them.


Networks of illicit activities have detrimental impacts on economies in terms of foreign investment, job growth, tax revenues and market distortions. Transnational criminal networks weaken institutions, erode public trust in government, and undermine core democratic values such as the rule of law.



Expected outcomes:

  1. Identify useful metrics quantify the market value of illicit trade activities on a sectoral and global basis, and impact of the illicit trade to markets, economic growth and foreign direct investment.
  2. Map risks and interconnections between actors involved in illicit trade activities
  3. Detect Gaps in the data and information required to develop mitigation strategies for dismantling illicit trade networks.
  4. Deepened understanding about how Public Private Partnerships can strengthen compliance and enforcement weak links that illicit trade exploits.


Antonio Adinolfi, DG for Prevention of Financial Crimes Department of the Treasury Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance

Scott Carpenter, Google Ideas

Meenu Chandra, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Ted Leggett, UNODC

Doris Mariani, Doris Mariani, Special Adviser, SORO Research

John Newton, Assistant Director Trafficking in Illicit Goods Sub-Directorate

Hugo Sanchez, Chilean Tax Administration

Louise Shelley, University Professor and Director, Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption, George Mason University

Norbert Steilen Programme Manager Revenue Assurance World Customs Organization





9:15 – 9:30
Introductory remarks and objectives of meeting

9:30 – 10:00

Identifying the contours of the illegal economy

10:00 – 11:30

Panel discussion I – Hidden costs of crime : quantifying the economic impact of illicit trade on business and investment

Questions and Discussion

  • What is the cost of illicit trade to business in terms of lost profits and business opportunities, corruption, extortion/racketeering fees, and other costs?
  • How do we measure them?
  • Are these costs high enough to compel business to change their investment decisions?
  • How can better data on these costs serve to improve strategies to protect the integrity of supply chains and to help companies to make better informed and more socially responsible investments?


Panel discussion II – A governance perspective: improving compliance and enforcement frameworks to reduce illicit arbitrage opportunities

Questions and Discussion

  • Where are the known global weak links, and what metrics are there to suggest that gaps in policy implementation create opportunities for illicit trade?
  • What are the key policy levers that have been successful to stem networks of illicit trade?
  • How to enhance detection capabilities through risk based strategies and non intrusive inspection technologies?


Panel discussion III –  Private Sector Perspective: strengthening supply chain integrity to combat illicit trade

Questions and Discussion

  • How can the monitoring of border crossings for goods and services be enhanced to reduce illicit flows, while avoiding onerous inspections of legitimate business activities?
  • How can information and communication technologies support a more friendly business oriented approach while serving to improve compliance?
  • What types of information should governments and private enterprise share to foster and enable risk-based approaches to customs inspection and enforcement?


Panel Discussion IV – Public–Private Partnerships and International Cooperation: counterweights and countermeasures to prevent the convergence of threats posed by illicit networks

Questions and Discussion

  • What structures for public-private partnerships have proven effective to enhance the effectiveness of monitoring illicit trade flows and measures to control them?
  • What are the incentives for the private sector to enter into public-private partnerships?
  • How do public-private partnerships in this arena enhance companies’ corporate-social responsibility agendas?

Next steps: Developing new strategies for international cooperation and regional policy dialogue to combat Illicit Trade and the Illegal Economy


Agenda can be downloaded here  (pdf)


For any questions or require information please contact: Ms Sabrina Aschemann, OECD: or Mr Jack Radisch, OECD:

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