Brand Protection & Authentication

Global ranking: Which countries are equipped against illegal trade?

A new study has recently analysed how well-equipped more than 80 countries worldwide are against illegal trade. Top marks were awarded to Finland; five European countries made it into the Top 10. Conversely, major weak points were discovered in the Middle East and Africa, amongst others.

84 countries closely examined

On average, the countries in the European economic region are in the top spots.
A total of 84 countries around the world were examined for the Illicit Trade Environment Index study: 34 from Europe, 21 from the Asian-Pacific region, 19 American countries as well as 10 from the Middle East and Africa. In this study, the TRACIT (Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade) and the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) based their evaluation of these countries’ ability to protect themselves from illegal trade on four key criteria: government policy, transparency and trade, customs environment, and supply and demand. With an average of 68 out of 100 points, the European countries performed very well, followed by the Asian-Pacific economic region (56 points), North and South America (54 points) and the Middle East and Africa (50 points). Looking at the individual countries, six European countries secured a spot in the Top 10. With 78.4 points, Hong Kong achieved a surprising 12th place, although the Chinese special administrative zone is often criticised as the origin of counterfeits. According to the EIU, there are manifold reasons for the poor performance of the negatively rated countries. But they all have one attribute in common: the low quality of their government institutions. Therefore, the new index should help government policy makers worldwide to better understand the political and economic circumstances that help promote illegal trade.

“Illegal trade flows damage governments, who lose tax income; and companies, who lose business through the trade of counterfeits and bootlegs,” explain both the EIU and the TRACIT in their current report. “In addition, they are a danger to consumers, who are exposed to low-quality and uninspected products, and whose health is put at risk, for example through counterfeit medications or alcohol.” In an extensive report, the TRACIT therefore presents potential measures governments can take to systematically deal with illegal trade. Included in the suggestions are, for example, the reinforcement of prosecutions, the standardisation of sentencing in cases of product and brand piracy, and improving the administration of free trade zones. Along with a strong legal foundation, the establishment of a physical security concept to protect one’s own products as well as targeted anti-piracy communication are of great importance, especially for companies. The experts for security solutions at tesa scribos and the communication experts at Karg and Petersen can assist you with these topics.


The ten best-rated countries in the Illicit Trade Environment Index 2018:

  • Finland (85.6)
  • United Kingdom (85.1)
  • United States of America (82.5)
  • New Zealand (82.3)
  • Australia (81.0)
  • Sweden (80.9)
  • Austria (80.5)
  • Netherlands (80.0)
  • Denmark (79.3)
  • Germany (78.9)


The ten worst-rated countries in the Illicit Trade Environment Index 2018:

  • Trinidad and Tobago (38.0)
  • Ukraine (37.8)
  • Belize (34.7)
  • Kyrgyzstan (33.5)
  • Cambodia (30.6)
  • Venezuela (28.1)
  • Laos (26.8)
  • Myanmar (22.6)
  • Iraq (14.4)
  • Libya (8.6)



The Economist Intelligence Unit, World Trademark Review

Article created in cooperation with the Anti-Piracy Analyst, June 2018 edition


Elena Bose, Online & PR Manager

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