The Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TACIT) has produced a report about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2016 and which lay out an ambitious set of 17 goals to address the world’s most acute economic, social and environmental challenges. They cover everything from poverty eradication and zero hunger to clean water, decent jobs and peace. Among the portfolio of tools available to achieve the SDGs is the expansion of international trade – because trade has historically proven to be an engine for development, boosting income generating capacity and contributing to unprecedented reductions in poverty levels. However, the expansion in legal trade has been accompanied by the alarming emergence of illicit trade, with estimates quantifying it and associated transnational criminal activities at between 8% and 15% percent of global GDP. From smuggling, counterfeiting and tax evasion, to the illegal sale or possession of goods, services, humans and wildlife, illicit trade is compromising the attainment of the SDG in significant ways, crowding out legitimate economic activity, depriving governments of revenues for investment in vital public services, dislocating millions of legitimate jobs and causing irreversible damage to ecosystems and human lives. The report argues that insufficient attention has been given to the substantial impact that illicit trade has on holding back progress. Based on the research undertaken in this study, the socio-economic impacts of illicit trade are all quantifiably negative and present significant deterrence to achieving all 17 of the SDG. It says that, while the findings show that illicit trade poses a threat to all 17 SDG, nowhere is the nexus as evident than in SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Across the board, these 2 goals are negatively impacted by all types of illicit trade examined in this study. Chapters in the 130-page report those on the effect on SDG of illicit trade in the agri-food industry and illicit trade in agrochemicals and pesticides; illicit trade in alcohol; illicit trade in counterfeit and pirated goods; illicit trade in forestry products; illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; illicit trade in petroleum products; illicit trade in pharmaceuticals; illicit trade in precious metals and gemstones; illicit trade in tobacco products; trafficking in persons; and illicit trade in wildlife.
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