FICCI CASCADE to organize 9th edition of MASCRADE on 28-29 September, New Delhi

Global Experts Converge at MASCRADE 2023 to Unveil Hidden Links Between Smuggling, Crime, and Terrorism, Prioritizing Societal and Economic Security

§ FICCI CASCADE to release an extensive report examining the covert channels, emphasizing the connections between Illicit Markets, Financial Flows, Organized Crime, and Terrorism

§ The Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Smuggling Awards & Felicitation Ceremony will honour the distinguished enforcement officers, school children, and journalists

NEW DELHI, 25 September 2023: FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) is organizing its annual flagship international conference –the ‘9th edition of MASCRADE (Movement Against Smuggled and Counterfeit Trade). The two-day conference, themed ‘Tackling Illicit Trade: Socio-Economic Perspectives and Way Forward’ is scheduled on September 28th, 29th in New Delhi.

MASCRADE 2023 aims to facilitate substantive discussions among the stakeholders, analysing the detrimental socio-economic consequences of illicit trade. The conclave, with an objective to foster widespread awareness on the subject, will have plenary sessions on ‘Exposing the lethal linkages of Illicit Trade and Terror Financing’, ‘Multilateral Approach to Intelligence Sharing and Strengthening Investigations’, ‘Harnessing the Power of New Age & Emerging Technologies in Preventing Illicit Trade’, ‘Detecting and Disrupting the Daunting Impact of Organized Crime, Terror Financing, and Illicit Trade’, ‘The Power of Judicial Intervention’s among others.

The International conference will see a galaxy of distinguished national and international experts who will not only deliberate and delve deep into the connections between smuggling, organized crime, and terror financing, but will also share their recommendations on the strategies, collaboration, and the implementation of state-of-the-art technologies to combat this threat, which is adversely impacting our society and economy.

Over the years the conference has witnessed notable representatives from various global institutions like WIPO, UNODC, OECD, INTERPOL, WCO, UKIPO, USPTO, US Department of Homeland Security, Australian Border Force, among others who have collaborated with this initiative, demonstrating their commitment to address this global challenge. MASCRADE which is now being held for over a decade now has garnered significant delegate interest, extensive media coverage, and featured a diverse lineup of eminent speakers from across the globe. The ensuing reports and recommendations are also shared with policymakers at the highest levels.

MASCRADE 2023 is set to feature an impressive lineup of distinguished speakers from renowned global organizations, including WCO, WIPO, UNODC, INCB-UN, INTERPOL and JETRO. It will also have addresses by Indian policy makers and senior government officials from Department of Revenue, Directorate of Enforcement, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, and Financial Intelligence Unit. Moreover, subject matter experts from several countries, including Denmark, Italy, France, and Belgium, and eminent professionals in areas such as cyber law, artificial intelligence, and e-commerce, will contribute their valuable insights during the conference. Additionally, Prominent corporations such as ITC, Amazon, Kenvue, and RealNetworks India will also actively participate in the event.

At the conference, FICCI CASCADE and the Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) will unveil a comprehensive report titled ‘Hidden Streams: Linkages between Illicit Markets, Financial Flows, Organized Crime, and Terrorism.’ This report will examine and reveal the concealed connections between smuggling and the funding of criminal activities and terrorism. It will also address the repercussions on the socio-economic structure of nations and present a roadmap for the future to tackle the issue.

Mr Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “The intricate interplay between illicit markets, financial flows, organized crime and terrorism weaves a complex web that presents a formidable challenge to the socio-economic stability of nations worldwide. During the 90th INTERPOL General Assembly held in India last year, our hon’ble Prime Minister had said that money from illicit sources such as smuggling gets pushed into evil activities and becomes one of the major sources of terror funding. The theme of MASCRADE 2023 is inspired by his focus to eliminate such traffickers, smugglers, terrorists, or organized crime to protect our communities and economies. We are looking forward to an engaging and insightful event this year with an aim to create a comprehensive and actionable plan to combat illicit trade and its linkages to organised crime.”

A 2022 FICCI CASCADE study titled ‘Illicit Markets: A Threat to Our National Interests’ revealed a staggering 163% increase in tax losses due to smuggling in India from 2010 to 2020. The government faced a substantial financial impact, with losses reaching ₹58,521 crore, compared to ₹22,230 crore, spanning crucial sectors such as alcoholic beverages, mobile phones, FMCG-household and personal goods, FMCG-packaged foods, and tobacco products. These industries collectively suffered an astounding 340% surge in sales losses, escalating from ₹59,046 crores in 2010 to ₹2,60,094 crores in 2020, highlighting the gravity of the illicit trade issue.

Smuggling and counterfeiting threaten India’s path to a 5 trillion-dollar economy, causing harm to industries, hampering job creation and impeding economic growth. Illicit trade presents a dual challenge – it not only deprives the government of tax revenue but also requires increased resource allocation for enforcement to curb such activities.

Like previous years, FICCI CASCADE will organise an Anti-Counterfeiting and Anti-Smuggling Awards and Felicitation Ceremony at MASCRADE 2023 to honour select enforcement officers, school children and journalists for their efforts towards countering illicit trade.

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