Foreign Trade Crime: Threats to legality and security in global trade

Global trade is a vital economic activity, but it can also be vulnerable to a variety of crimes that compromise its legality and security. These crimes can range from smuggling and money laundering to counterfeit goods and tax evasion. In this note, we will explore some of the most common crimes in foreign trade and their impact on the economy and society.


Smuggling involves the illegal import or export of goods without complying with customs regulations and paying the corresponding taxes and duties. This crime negatively affects the economy by undermining fair competition and depriving governments of tax revenues. In addition, smuggling can be linked to the circulation of counterfeit, dangerous or illegal goods.

Counterfeit goods

Counterfeit goods is a crime in which counterfeit products or unauthorized imitations of trademarks, patents or copyrights are produced or marketed. This not only harms legitimate businesses and consumers, but can also have serious implications for public health and safety, especially in products such as medicines, electronics and automotive parts.

Money laundering

Money laundering is the process of concealing the illicit origin of funds obtained through illegal activities, such as smuggling, corruption or drug trafficking, by introducing these funds into the legal financial system. In the context of foreign trade, money laundering can be related to false or overvalued import and export transactions, using trade as a front to legitimize illegal gains.

Tax evasion

Tax evasion is a crime in which taxpayers try to avoid paying all or part of the taxes due to them. In foreign trade, this can manifest itself through under-declaration of values or manipulation of import or export invoices. Tax evasion deprives governments of revenues needed to finance public services and social programs.

Customs corruption involves illegal practices or abuses of power by customs officials, such as bribery, extortion or preferential treatment in exchange for personal benefits. These actions undermine the efficiency and transparency of foreign trade, generate inequalities and erode confidence in the customs system.

Foreign trade crime poses a threat to the legality, economy and security of global trade. Smuggling, counterfeit goods, money laundering, tax evasion and customs corruption are just a few examples of these crimes. It is essential that governments, customs authorities, businesses and society in general work together to prevent and combat these crimes by strengthening controls, promoting transparency and fostering a culture of legality in foreign trade.

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