On October 26th 2023, the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) hosted its first ever Anti-Illicit Trade Forum which focused on combatting the illegal trade in consumer products.
This event brought together key players within industries that are significantly impacted by illicit trade to discuss their challenges, policy implications, and opportunities that exist to collaboratively reduce this type of crime within the region. It featured international brands owners such as Puma, Moet Hennessey, British American Tobacco and Servier whose speakers encompassed Brand Protection Managers and Anti-Illicit Trade Managers who provided global perspectives on the issue. Other organizations at the event were the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade who provided an overview of the crime, M. Hamel Smith and Co, a local law firm that works on infringement and anti-counterfeiting challenges, and Crime Stoppers Trinidad and Tobago which provided insight on organized crime and its link to illicit trade. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s recommendations on Free Trade and Special Economic Zones were also discussed.
Mr. Randall Karim, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry delivered the featured address, and highlighted the work of the National Anti-Illicit Trade Task Force. He also emphasized the need for a cohesive and holistic approach in reducing the incidence of illicit trade.
The overall purpose of the forum was to foster meaningful discussions on the topic of illicit trade within a plethora of sectors and encourage inter-agency collaboration among government, regulatory and law enforcement agencies. The TTMA aims to continue pushing the needle as it pertains to raising awareness on the impact and magnitude of illicit trade in Trinidad and Tobago, and by extension, the region.
A full listing of the speakers are as follows:
- Roger Roach - President – Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association)
- Mr. Randall Karim, Permanent Secretary and Co-Chair of the Anti-Illicit Trade Task Force (Ministry of Trade and Industry)
- Jeffrey Hardy – Director General (Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade)
- Darrin Carmichael – Director (Crime Stoppers Trinidad & Tobago and Caribbean Bermuda & Latin America)
- Piotr Stryszowski, Head of Unit, Working Party on Countering Illicit Trade, OECD Trade Directorate.
- Arturo Payro – Head - Anti Illicit Trade, LATAM and Caribbean (British American Tobacco)
- Flavie Jost – Brand Protection Manager (Moet Hennessy)
- Gabriel Tapia - Head of Legal & Compliance - Servier Central America & The Caribbean and Wilfrid S. Monde Roge – Anti-Falsification Global Manager – Servier
- Neil Narriman – Head of Brand Protection – Puma
In attendance at the event were representatives from:
- Ministry of National Security
- Customs and Excise Division
- Trinidad and Tobago Police Service
- Financial Intelligence Unit
- Chemistry Food and Drug Division
- Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards