Herewith a 2020 update of the ICC BASCAP report assessing the environment and highlighting trends in counterfeiting and other forms of illicit trade facilitated within free trade zones.
Free Trade Zones (FTZs) provide significant opportunities for legitimate business and play a critical role in global trade as well as economic growth for the host nation. However, our updated research has continued to confirm that insufficient oversight remains a major enabler of illicit activities. Since the publication of our previous 2013 report, there have not been vast improvements in limiting criminal activities within FTZs. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased vulnerability for abuses by criminal actors who take advantage of supply chain shortages and increased demands as well as relaxed oversight often because of such things as quarantines that have softened Customs control.
Counterfeiters use transit or transhipment of goods, through multiple, geographically diverse FTZs for no other purpose than to disguise the illicit nature of the products. Once introduced into an FTZ, counterfeit goods may undergo a series of economic operations, including assembly, manufacturing, processing, warehousing, re-packaging, and re-labelling. Once completed, the goods can be imported directly to the national territory of the hosting state or re-exported to another country for distribution or to another FTZ, where the process is repeated.
Our 2020 report promotes a set of specific policy and legislative recommendations on how to preserve and expand the benefits of FTZs for legitimate traders and protect the public and honest businesses from predatory practices. These recommendations are based on a review of the international and national legal frameworks governing FTZs, including how they are implemented and enforced.
Suggested recommendations include:
empowering Customs with jurisdiction over day-to-day operations within FTZs
strengthening relationship between Customs and FTZs
clarifying and declaring that FTZs remain under the jurisdiction of the national Customs authority
enhancing data sharing between Customs and the private sector
strengthening national government adherence to international conventions and implementation of international standards
legislatively ensuring that strict penalties are in place, including criminal sanctions where appropriate, against perpetrators of illegal activities in FTZs
that manufacturers and shippers recognize and use the ICC World Chambers Foundation’s International Certificates of Origin (COs) Accreditation Chain which is a program that accredits chambers of commerce issuing COs wishing to guarantee their commitment to the highest level of quality, implementing transparent and accountable issuance and verification procedures. Accredited chambers will receive a distinctive internationally recognized quality classification, reinforcing their integrity and credibility as competent trusted third parties in the issuance of COs.
Additionally, the new document also provides specific recommendations such as drawing on international agreements, lessons learned from effective and ineffective national legislation, the experience of IP rights holders, and legislative and regulatory measures to enforce intellectual property right protection in FTZs. These specific recommendations are delineated in the report for action by the World Customs Organization, World Trade Organization, national governments, and FTZ operators. Effective implementation of the measures delineated for each of these bodies will go a long way in securing FTZs from illicit traders.
Here are seven ICC digital initiatives that will prepare business for the future of global trade:
1). TradeTrust facilitating ICC TradeFlow
During the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, ICC joined the Singapore Government and major firms from key industries to launch TradeTrust, a public-private partnership that uses blockchain technology to digitalize global trade. The TradeTrust framework allows for interoperability across different trade platforms for the exchange of trade documents on a public blockchain.
ICC TradeFlow, a blockchain platform developed by ICC and Perlin to simplify the trade documentation process for all, was the first project built on the TradeTrust network. The platform, launched by ICC, DBS Bank, Trafigura, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore, and Perlin, enables businesses to visually map out trade flows, issue instructions to partners, and analyse trade actions in real time.
2). Digital Trade Standards Initiative
The ICC Banking Commission has announced the creation of the Digital Trade Standards Initiative (DSI) to establish open technology standards that will promote interoperability among existing blockchain and technology platforms.
3). Digitalisation in Trade Finance Working Group
ICC’s Digitalisation in Trade Finance Working Group coordinates the ICC Banking Commission’s work related to the digitalisation of global trade, including the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and blockchain.
Formed in 2017, the Working Group evaluated all existing ICC rules for electronic compatibility, leading to the release of the eUCP version 2.0 and eURC version 1.0. In addition, the Working Group conducted a legal survey to understand the rights of third parties under e-Bills of Landing and developed a Digital Trade Roadmap, a communication tool for policymakers engaged in digital trade work.
4). Partnership with Perlin
In May 2019, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO announced the formation of a technology partnership between ICC and Perlin, a Singapore-based blockchain technology company. As part of this partnership, ICC and Perlin will work in close association to develop innovative blockchain products that will simplify and transform global trade for all.
AirCarbon, Perlin, and ICC at COP25
In recognition of the significant environmental impact of commercial air traffic, ICC, Perlin, and AirCarbon, formed a partnership on the side-lines of COP25 to facilitate carbon credit schemes to reduce worldwide aviation emissions. ICC will work with its global network to pursue adoption of the AirCarbon Exchange, the world’s first blockchain backed trading network for CORSIA compliant carbon credits. CORSIA, International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, was signed in Montreal in 2016 by 191 countries.
Chambers Climate Coalition
The Chambers Climate Coalition is an initiative launched by ICC to mobilise chambers of commerce to take climate action, aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. The Coalition, which was recognised as part of the landmark Climate Ambition Alliance at COP25, aims to reduce the greenhouse footprint from chamber service activities without delay.
Chambers of commerce can use Perlin’s blockchain technology to trace their value chains and implement a more sustainable model for their services to local businesses.
ICC Centre of Future Trade
ICC, Perlin, and Enterprise Singapore, established the ICC Centre for Future Trade in Singapore, an innovation hub for the creation and development of blockchain solutions for business. From the Centre for Future Trade, ICC and Perlin will work together to accelerate the commercial adoption of blockchain technologies for business.
International E-Registry of Ships (IERS)
In collaboration with Perlin and the Singapore Shipping Association, ICC has announced the creation of the International E-Registry of Ships, the world’s first blockchain-backed digital ship registration system. IERS will standardise the international shipping registration and renewal system through the use of digital technology.
ICC’s partnership with Perlin enables ICC’s global membership network with access to Perlin Clarify, a blockchain solution that enables businesses to trace their value chains. Perlin Clarify allows businesses to track their compliance with government regulations, environmental standards, and other industry indicators.
The Incoterms® rules and smart contacts
ICC with support from Perlin is piloting customisable, self-executing digital sales agreements, that incorporate the latest edition of the Incoterms® rules into contracts. The creation of these blockchain-backed Incoterms® rules with smart contracts will help facilitate trade by reducing costs faced by importers and exporters worldwide.
On the side-lines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Mr Denton joined Pavan Sukhdev, CEO of GIST and President of the World Wildlife Foundation, to launch two digital platforms that track the environmental impact of business operations for companies of all sizes. The platforms, I360X and SME360X, utilise analytics and global databases to measure the environmental impacts of market goods and services.
With the analytical information provided by these platforms, companies can transition their operations toward a more sustainable model for the future.
6). eATA Carnet
In November 2019, ICC successfully piloted the first ever digital ATA Carnet, a customs document allowing duty- and tax-free movement of goods for up to one year. The project, known as the Mercury II pilot, was initially launched by ICC in 2018 as part of the organisation’s commitment to using digital technology to simplify the trade documentation process.
7). Digital platforms with the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Global Dialogue on Trade
In October 2018, Mr Denton and World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo launched the Global Dialogue on Trade digital platform to gather input from policymakers, business leaders, and academia on the future of global trade.
The first series of debates, which concluded in March 2019, resulted in a set of concrete policy recommendations to provide guidance to stakeholders for strengthening multilateral trade.
At the request of the WTO and B20, ICC is responsible for hosting Trade Dialogues, a digital platform connecting stakeholders from around the world to spark discussions among WTO members on critical business issues.
ICC has launched the Digital Trade Standards Initiative (DSI) – a collaborative cross-industry effort to enable the standardisation of digital trade.
The ICC Digital Trade Standards Initiative (DSI) will build on work done by various likeminded initiatives, many of which aim to digitise trade, notably through the development of open trade and technology standards to promote interoperability.
The ICC DSI will promote greater economic inclusion through the development of open trade standards. This will facilitate technical interoperability among the variety of blockchain-based networks and technology platforms that have entered the trade space over the past two years.
“Universal standards will connect existing digital islands and enable market forces to improve customer experience,” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO. “As a leading and neutral voice in the industry, it made sense to bring this project under the umbrella of ICC. This will allow the ICC DSI to lead and coordinate efforts in developing standards and protocols to digitise trade.”
The ICC DSI is unique among trade digitisation initiatives due to its collective nature. Too often, digitisation is enacted through bilateral agreements between institutions that require members to run on the same platform. This has resulted in siloed data and bespoke trade and trade finance processes.
“The ICC DSI seeks to coordinate all parties in the standardisation of data formats and processes, rather than duplicate existing efforts. In turn, membership will be open to all organisations across industries and geographies supporting the project’s core mandate, including existing industry associations and initiatives,” explained Steven Beck, Head of Trade Finance at the Asian Development Bank.
The ICC DSI will be supported by seed-funding committed by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Singapore, in addition to ICC’s support. The ICC DSI will be run as an independent entity out of the recently-established ICC Centre for Future Trade.
“We have seen the tremendous impact of technology in growing businesses and facilitating international trade,” said Gina Lim, Director of Financing Ecosystem Development at Enterprise Singapore. “The ICC DSI will promote greater adoption of technology within the trade ecosystem and facilitate greater inclusiveness for small businesses. We are excited for the establishment of the ICC DSI office in Singapore and look forward to working with our global partners across geographies and sectors.”
ICC anticipates the implementation of a full-time management team, and a global and diverse steering committee to provide guidance and set priorities for the project’s development.
ICC has opened the recruitment process to hire a managing director to lead operations within the ICC DSI, with an official launch event to follow once this first process completed.
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) commitments to simplify trade documentation processes have been bolstered by the first real use of a digital ATA Carnet – the widely used international trade facilitation tool allowing duty free movement of goods for up to one year.
Issued as part of the ‘Mercury II’ pilot project to digitalise the ATA Carnet – launched by ICC in 2018 – the pioneering Swiss ATA Carnet ‘CHBE20191834’ was digitally activated by customs officials at Zurich airport on 20 October 2019. It was followed by another digital transaction of exportation formalities on the same day. Two weeks later, on 1 November, the goods were re-imported to Switzerland from Canada, declared via the ICC ATA Carnet App and subsequently digitally processed by Zurich airport customs via the ATA Carnet Customs portal.
ICC ATA Manager Yuan Chai said: “We are delighted that the test case was a success, demonstrating that it is possible to handle ATA carnets digitally and that both the concept and digital tool can transform to work well in the real world.”
Commenting on the successful test, Christian Modl, President of Alliance des Chambres de Commerce Suisses (the National Guaranteeing Association for Switzerland) said: “Switzerland, being a founding member of the ATA carnet system, we are proud and humbled to now be part of paving the way into the digital future of the ATA carnet. We trust that the first transaction on an electronic carnet is merely the start into another 65 years and more of the success story that is the ATA system.”
ICC, as the international organization administering the ATA Carnet international guaranteeing chain, is leading the on-going project to digitalise the ATA Carnet in cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO). The real testing phase will continue for 6 months thanks to the support of six pilot countries: Belgium, China, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Ms Chai added: “We are thankful to our project team members from the Alliance of Swiss Chambers of Commerce, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Belgian Federation of Chambers, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United States Council for International Business and solutions provider UDITIS.”United States Council for International Business Ms Chai added: “We are thankful to our project team members from the Alliance of Swiss Chambers of Commerce, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Belgian Federation of Chambers, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United States Council for International Business and solutions provider UDITIS.”
Learn more about the ICC ATA Carnet lifecycle management system in this demo video available in five languages on ICC’s YouTube channel.
Leaders from global shipping firms, freight forwarders, brand owners whose products are counterfeited and industry organizations representing both industries signed a joint Declaration of Intent to Prevent the Maritime Transport of Counterfeit Goods in Brussels last week.
The event marked the first time the global shipping industry and brand owners have made a public commitment to work together to stop the transport of counterfeit goods on shipping vessels.
Initial signatories include the leading global shipping firms and freight forwarders and ten major multinational brand manufacturers, along with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), and the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and Commercial Crime Service (CCS).
More transporters, brand owners and their industry associations are expected to join the voluntary initiative as awareness grows.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, about 90 percent of all international trade is moved around the world in more than 500 million containers on 89,000 maritime vessels. While this represents approximately 90 percent of all international trade, UNODC says that less than two percent of these containers are inspected to verify their contents. This results in enormous opportunities for criminal networks to abuse this critical supply chain channel to transport huge volumes of counterfeit products affecting virtually every product sector.
According to a recent OECD/EUIPO report, $461 billion in counterfeit goods moved through international trade in 2013, with almost 10 percent being shipped on maritime vessels.
Maersk Line and CMA CGM Group, two of the largest global transport companies with approximately half of all global shipping, and Kuehne and Nagel and Expeditors, two of the leading freight forwarding and logistics companies with total revenues of more than $27 billion, were the first in their industries to sign the Declaration.
The non-binding Declaration acknowledges the “destructive impact” of counterfeits on international trade. It calls on the maritime transport industry to address it “through continuous proactive measures, and corporate social responsibility principles.” The Declaration includes a zero tolerance policy on counterfeiting, strict supply chain controls and other due diligence checks to stop business cooperation with those suspected of dealing in the counterfeit trade.
This commitment paves the way for new voluntary collaboration programs between intermediaries and brand owners to stop abuse of the global supply chain by counterfeiters.
“We are proud to be among the first in our industry to sign this historic Declaration,” said Michael Jul Hansen, Customs and Trade Compliance Lead for Maersk Line. “Maersk has been a leader in taking steps to prevent the use of our vessels for the shipment of counterfeit and other illicit goods, and this Declaration is a reaffirmation of our intent to do everything we can to ensure our ships are counterfeit free.”
The Declaration is a direct reaction to the concerns of brand owners that vessels transporting their legitimate products were also being exploited by criminal networks to transport fake versions. This phenomenon was summarized in a landmark report on the Role and Responsibilities of Intermediaries: Fighting Counterfeiting and Piracy in the Supply Chain, published in 2015 by BASCAP. Following publication of the report, BASCAP organized a working group of its members to initiate a cross-sector dialogue with the transport industry to discuss ways to work together to find voluntary solutions. Source: Maritime Executive
Who would have guessed that a collection of three-letter acronyms would have had such an impact on the development of international (and domestic) commercial transactions? A group of industrialists, financiers and traders whose determination to bring economic prosperity to a post-World War I era eventually led to the founding of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). With no global system of rules to govern trade, it was these businessmen who saw the opportunity to create an industry standard that would become known as the Incoterms rules.
To keep pace with the ever evolving global trade landscape, the latest update to the trade terms is currently in progress and is set to be unveiled in 2020. The Incoterms 2020 Drafting Group includes lawyers, traders and company representatives from around the world. The overall process will take two years as practical input on what works and what could possibly be improved will be collected from a range of Incoterms rules users worldwide and studied. For more information visit the ICC website. Source: ICC
The ICC recognises that the survey results are neither statistically valid nor entirely representative of the hundreds of thousands of organizations that trade globally, the survey does much to reveal a set of common prerequisites – such as predictability, reliability and consistency – that international traders seek. The ICC concludes that there is a need for further capacity-building efforts, in particular education and availability of information for both traders and border control officials on the correct process to follow. The survey results illustrates the need for an effective customs-business dialogue at national level to find ways to lessen delays in trade processes and shorten release times, as called for by ICC.
The survey coincides with a number of international developments seeking to facilitate trade and simplify border procedures. These include the conclusion of a multilateral agreement on trade facilitation at the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in December 2013 and the ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Negotiations. Source: International Chamber of Commerce
As part of Indonesia’s move towards globalization, Indonesian Customs, jointly with ICC Indonesia and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is preparing the implementation of the ATA System in Indonesia.
They aim to announce Indonesia’s ratification of the Convention on the temporary admission of goods (the so-called Istanbul Convention) at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, being held in Bali in December, as well as to implement the ATA Carnet System for the temporary duty and tax-free import and export of goods in Indonesia in early 2014.
Indonesia features among the 10 priority target countries where businessmen from countries already operating the system would like to be able to use their ATA Carnets. To meet these expectations, Indonesian governmental authorities and business organizations invited Ms Lee Ju Song, Director of ICC Asia, to conduct a two-day workshop and series of meetings in Jakarta on 1-5 July 2013 to understand the technical intricacies of the ATA System operation. They benefited from very practical and technical training, as well as from guidance on steps they should take to finalize their affiliation to the ATA Chain.
The ATA Carnet System – celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013 – is jointly administered by the World Customs Organization, holding the international conventions on the temporary admission of goods, and the ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF), acting as the administrator of the ATA International Guarantee Chain. This chain comprises the chambers of commerce and other similar business organizations appointed in their respective countries to guarantee and issue Carnets.
ATA Carnets remove the need for exporters to provide Customs authorities with the otherwise necessary guarantees required for goods to cross borders. In the 73 countries where they are currently accepted, Carnets allow all kinds of goods to be temporarily transported. This usually pertains to professional equipment, commercial samples and material for trade fairs and exhibitions. Some examples of note include: a prototype solar car, World Cup yachts, Giorgio Armani apparel, McLaren Grand Prix cars, Munich Symphony Orchestra instruments, Australian Olympic horses, Harley Davidson motorcycles and equipment for the Bolshoi Ballet, Cirque du Soleil, BBC and CNN. More than 175,000 ATA Carnets are issued yearly for thousands of customs transactions worth over US$ 25 billion. Source: International Chamber of Commerce