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DRI-hosted global event concludes with resolve to combat against cross-border crimes

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, NOV 01, 2023: THE three-day long Global Conference on Cooperation in Enforcement Matters (GCCEM) inaugurated by the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman on 30th October, 2023 concluded, in New Delhi, today, with a resolve to reinforce the cooperation among the Customs administrations, International organisations and Law Enforcement Agencies in fight against cross border crimes. In her inaugural address, the Union Finance Minister had stressed on the need to disrupt illicit trade, catch hold of the masterminds and break the network of syndicates with emphasis on increased coordination and cooperation among agencies.

The technical sessions covered wider issues faced world over with focus on post COVID-19 Pandemic smuggling landscape and emerging trends. Dedicated sessions on combating narcotics related cross-border crimes drew attention to new technologies, innovative means and evolving sourcing and distribution methods adopted by smuggling syndicates.

The other technical sessions also covered best practices in combating of tobacco smuggling which has become global phenomenon involving organised criminal syndicates. With a view to protect flora, fauna and heritage of regions and countries, ideas were exchanged during the sessions to counter the smuggling of natural resources including Red Sanders. The challenge to handle the rising volumes on e-commerce and postal / express consignments due to the unique nature of e-commerce, anonymity with a very low-cost and low-risk alternative to smugglers were discussed elaborately. Discussions focussed on practises adopted by the regulators to establish linkage between money laundering and cross-border smuggling of contrabands including precious metals and gems.

They underlined steps taken by the administrations, viz. capacity building, augmenting resources and building inter-agency cooperation within countries and outside. Steps that the administrations and organisations can take to combat the infiltrations in supply chains by identifying the red flags and building comprehensive strategy to address the threat were also discussed at length.

The participants including the Customs officers were urged to use the mechanism available for seeking international cooperation for pursuing transnational and organised crimes. The modalities of various Customs conventions, resolutions, CMAAs, WCO agreements as well as Interpol assistance, use of CENcomm, a global customs communication network of countries, to exchange information on Customs offences for benefit of all Member countries and update about ongoing WCO projects including Program Global Shield, AIRCOP, JAITF and CCP Sea and Air were highlighted.

The participants unanimously agreed on the significance of timely sharing of actionable intelligence that relies on building a strong network among the Customs administrations and International organisations. The need to leverage the existing bilateral and multilateral engagement mechanisms, subject to respective domestic laws, for supporting greater collaboration and engagement towards enforcement against said crimes was emphasised.

The Principal Director General, DRI, while summarising the takeaways of the GCCEM, 2023, also expressed that 'Network' by exchange of information and investigative assistance will strengthen the enforcement actions and is the only lasting measure for flighting the 'transnational criminal network'.


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