UAE fights illicit trade

UAE is the primary destination for the illegal charcoal trade in Somalia. (Al-Araby image)

The United Arab Emirates is a country where illicit business is a BIG NO.

The UAE has become a safe haven not just for individuals but for businesses as well, as authorities protect the copyright well and fights all kinds of illicit trade.

The UAE is able to do protect legitimate businesses by means of its strong regulations and strict implementation of the laws.

No wonder, in the Global Illicit Trade Environment Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (Tracit), the UAE has been rated the top country in the Middle East and Africa when it comes to fighting illicit trade and 34th out of 84 nations worldwide.

More importantly, the UAE is the third best nation in the world that offers right domestic environment that discourages the supply and demand of illicit goods.

The UAE scored 67.8 points of 100, outscoring Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, Greece, China, Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and dozens of other countries. The average overall score in the Global Illicit Trade Environment is a shade under 60.

It is estimated that the size of global illicit trade to be between $650 billion (Dh2.385 trillion) to $3 trillion (Dh11 trillion), according reports.

These estimates are expected to go up as criminals become better at exploiting new technologies and taking advantage of legal loopholes, the reports added.

On the supply and demand sub-index, the UAE scores even better at 82 points and was ranked third worldwide after New Zealand and Singapore. On the government policies sub-index, the UAE scored 70.3 points and was ranked 35th.

On the transparency and trade, it was rated 58th with 43.7 points and 52nd on customs environment.

In the Middle East and Africa, the UAE is followed by Turkey by scoring 62.3 points, South Africa (61.7), Saudi Arabia (58.8), Tunisia (56), Algeria (51.5), Morocco (48), Iraq (14.4) and Libya (8.6).

The Middle East and Africa come third among the four regions, with an average score in the category of 44. Because of the natural resource wealth that some economies in the region enjoy, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iraq, the region scores well on tax and social security burdens. The region scores poorly on labour market regulations, a measure of the degree of restrictiveness on hiring and firing; Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia all receive the lowest score on this indicator.

Jeffrey Hardy, director-general at Tracit, said governments and intergovernmental organizations need to step up their game and close the loopholes which pose serious threats to the region’s security.

“Illicit trade not only hurts consumers and takes revenue away from governments, it threatens the security of nations by supporting transnational criminal syndicates and terrorist groups, and governments and the private sector must work together to fight it,” Hardy said.

Reflecting the UAE’s zero-tolerance for illicit trade, government bodies in the UAE seize fake goods worth billions of dirhams every year in their campaigns against illicit trade.

p: wjg