The Siracusa International Institute is pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade’s public consultation on its draft OECD Guidance to Counter Illicit Trade: Enhancing Transparency in Free Trade Zones. The Institute considers the draft Guidance to be a critical platform for driving Governments’ action towards more responsible, accountable and transparent management of Free Trade Zones globally.

The draft Guidance and the Siracusa International Institute’s submission are available here:



The Institute has reaffirmed its commitment to actively support the Task Force’s ongoing work and initiatives on illicit trade more generally.

The OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade works to step up efforts to reduce illicit trade, while maintaining the benefits that accrue from the facilitation of legal trade. As part of this initiative, the Task Force, together with the OECD’s High Level Risk Forum, is developing guidance to counter illicit trade by enhancing transparency in free trade zones (FTZ).

The draft OECD Guidance to Counter Illicit Trade: Enhancing Transparency in Free Trade Zones was open for public consultation until 3 September 2018. The aim of this public consultation was to ensure that the final text of the guidance benefits from the experience and expertise of all stakeholders concerned by its provisions. The target audience for this consultation included government officials, free trade zone authorities, industries that have established firms in free trade zones (and firms that have a B2B relationship with them), civil society organizations, international organisations and interested citizens from all over the world.

The draft OECD guidance seeks to provide an international standard of reference. The intention is that if and when the general guidance is embodied in an OECD legal instrument, an implementation toolkit will be developed.  This could include a more technical reference point for the verification firms that will undertake certification of compliance by FTZ with the Code of Conduct.  In addition, it could include a FTZ risk assessment model for companies to gauge the integrity and adequacy of good governance in various FTZ’s against a range of benchmarks.