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Free Trade Zones boosting drinks black market - OECD

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The rising number of Free Trade Zones is encouraging sales of counterfeit drinks, an official from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development has told just-drinks.

The black market for drinks products is benefiting from Free Trade Zones, the OECD has warned

The black market for drinks products is benefiting from Free Trade Zones, the OECD has warned

Florence Mouradian, a policy analyst with the OECD, said the drinks category has become a target for illicit traders in FTZs. Her comments came after the OECD released the 'Trade in Counterfeit Goods and Trade Zones' report late last month.

Although not sector specific, the report warns that "some zones have indivertibly facilitated trade in counterfeit and pirated products". The problem is particularly acute where governments have light-touch policing policies or, worse, have farmed out controls to private zone freight operators, who may have "little interest in or capacity to conduct law enforcement operations".

"Free trade zones are used as a transit point for many types of fake goods," Mouradian added. "There are indications that counterfeit beverages are among them."

Mouradian highlighted OECD concerns regarding Middle East free trade zones in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and stressed the role of free trade zones in countries bordering the European Union as facilitating the counterfeit drinks trade.

While she didn't name these countries, Mouradian said there is evidence that "counterfeit vodka, Cognac or Champagne produced in China and Russia and transiting through these zones to the EU has been found".

Moldova and Belarus, for example, are European countries with free trade zones.

To access the OECD's Trade in Counterfeit Goods and Trade Zones' report, click here.


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