From: Press Release
This week the Latin American Anti-Contraband Alliance (ALAC) is meeting for the first time in Brazil. The objective of the event, which includes authorities and specialists from 15 countries, is to establish shared actions between governments and civil entities to fight the illegal trade of products such as cigarettes, textiles, drinks, sporting goods, audio-visual products, and food.
The commitment to fighting smuggling is a challenge for all Latin American countries. Edson Vismona, President of the Brazilian Institute for Ethics in Competition (ETCO) and Co-President of ALAC, believes the presence of 15 countries from the region is extremely significant. “Brazil and the other member countries are currently suffering from contraband cigarettes that are smuggled in from Paraguay, especially in the Southern Cone. The statement made by President Mário Abdo Benítez that fighting smuggling and fraud are commitments of the new government, is very important,” Vismona said.
Vismona believes that in addition to integration among the member countries, it is necessary to adopt measures on different fronts in order to fight contraband. “Actions need to be taken by everyone in the areas of tax, regulatory, policing and control, diplomatic, and legislative, since this is a multifaceted problem that impacts all of society,” he said.
In 2017, for example, Brazil became the largest global market for illegal cigarettes, with 48% of the brands sold in the country smuggled in from Paraguay. This is the type of trade that brings great losses to Brazil, with more than R$ 43 billion in taxes not collected since 2011, which amount could have gone back to benefit the Brazilian people. And in Paraguay, the activities of criminal organizations cause increased violence, encourage corruption, theft of freight, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, and money laundering in the region.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela are all members of ALAC.