Illicit trade is multifaceted. Whilst counterfeiting tops the list, drug trafficking, human and wildlife trafficking have all contributed to the booming illicit economy in the years leading up to the pandemic. An estimate from the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) puts the value share of counterfeit and pirated goods at 3.3% of world trade, or $509 billion. However, like licit trade, illicit trade is also not immune to the effects of the pandemic. Cross-border movements have been constrained by the initial response to contain covid-19’s spread. As the more stringent measures ease, the lasting effects on trade will slowly emerge.
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