The T&T Manufacturers Association (TTMA) says it is encouraged that action is being taken against those who contribute to illicit trade.
This follows supermarket owners, Stephany Wong Low and Yunxuan Huang who were charged with selling illegal cigarettes and conducting illegal gambling at their businesses.
According to the TTMA tackling illicit trade is important as it is linked to more organised criminal activities including human trafficking, drug trafficking and smuggling of firearms.
“In addition to monitoring the retail outlets, the TTMA is cognisant that free trade zones can act as havens for illicit trade,” it said, adding that it is therefore, imperative that companies in free zones do not become clearing houses for illicit products.
The TTMA also noted that several international organisations including the Economic Intelligence Unit, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade and the World Health Organisation have provided some recommendations to address illicit trade in the free zones.
TTMA advised that local enforcement agencies can review these recommendations and adapt where practical.
Saying that the TTMA will continues to do its part to educate the public about this problem, the organisation added that in collaboration with M Hamel Smith and the International Trademark Association, it would be hosting a webinar on policies to address counterfeiting.
The webinar would feature representatives of major international brands of alcohol and tobacco, as well as a local expert on copyright issues.
For further information on the Policy Dialogue – Best Practices in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement in the Caribbean webinar contact the TTMA Secretariat at 675-8862 ext 225 or 239.