Duty- and tax-free industry makes case for cross-sector action on illicit trade in new position paper

Duty- and tax-free industry makes case for cross-sector action on illicit trade in new position paper

At the TFWA Exhibition & Conference in Cannes, industry leaders set out five key recommendations to governments and enforcement agencies, as part of the global “Duty Free: Trusted, Transparent, Secure” campaign

October 2022 – The Duty Free World Council (DFWC), the global voice for the duty free and travel retail industry, and Tax Free World Association (TFWA), the association that brings together 520 supplier companies to the duty free and travel retail industry, have today released a position paper on tackling illicit trade, counterfeiting, and intellectual property theft.

The paper sets out the disproportionate and unfair impact illicit trade has on duty- and tax-free channels through fraudulent labelling by criminals and in terms of lost sales opportunities. It calls on national governments and cross-border enforcement agencies to work with industry to put an end to the practice.

The paper’s release comes after the successful launch of the Duty Free: Trusted, Transparent, Secure campaign in July, which is being led by the DFWC and TFWA and supported by a global network of regional travel retail associations.

Duty- and tax-free channels are among the world’s most transparent, secure and legitimate supply chains, with all products sold in travel retail shops being authentic and traceable. As today’s position paper reveals, in recent years illicit traders have begun to fraudulently label tax-evaded goods as ‘duty-free’. By using fake labels and markings, these criminals attempt to cash-in on the trust consumers have placed in the duty- and tax-free industry for over 75 years.

In addition to warning consumers of the dangers of illicit goods and how to distinguish genuine duty-free products from falsely labelled ones, the position paper recommends:

  1. Better regulation of informal and casual retail channels; such as street stalls and markets, and for the robust implementation of existing rules
  2. Greater control over Free Trade Zones (FTZs) & Special Economic Zones; with a common approach to enforcement to prevent the emergence of illicit trade hot-spots
  3. Help educating consumers; to build on industry-led initiatives such as the www.dutyfreefacts.com website
  4. Investigation of duty-free specific issues; such as fraudulent mislabelling, an emerging trend among criminals
  5. Enhanced cooperation between industry and enforcement bodies; to tackle the “common enemy” that is illicit trade

Commenting on the release of the position paper, DFWC President Sarah Branquinho said: “We are proud to launch the position paper in support of the Duty Free: Trusted, Transparent and Secure campaign. Since the campaign’s launch this summer, we have been greatly encouraged by the level of support it has received from industry and enforcement bodies. Today’s paper outlines how we can increase cooperation and work together to tackle this form of illegality.”

Speaking ahead of the launch of the paper in Cannes, Erik Juul-Mortensen, Tax Free World Association (TFWA) President, added: “TFWA has been honoured to be a part of the Duty Free: Trusted, Transparent and Secure campaign since its conception. Today’s position paper highlights the action our industry has been taking against illicit trade for many years, and what steps are required from the public sector to strengthen this.

We hope the paper and our ongoing campaign inspires stronger action, and raises awareness of the dangers of illicit goods among consumers”.

You can access the full position paper here: Tackling Illicit Trade, Counterfeiting & Intellectual Property Theft


Comprehensive and growing library of content