UK parliamentary illicit trade group is discontinued

After four years, the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Illicit Trade has decided it will not be renewed, but will continue to monitor the government's work in this area.

The APPG was originally set up by MPs and peers from across the political spectrum to tackle illicit trade, with a focus on smuggled and counterfeit tobacco and alcohol, with the objective of producing recommendations for government, law enforcement, industry and consumers.

It published an initial report in 2018, which recommended that the government set up a public-private anti-illicit trade group and define an international strategy to tackle the problem, suggesting that funding reductions in areas such as Trading Standards and policing had made tackling illicit trade more challenging.

The chair of the APPG, Conservative MP Matthew Offord, said that the group was delighted to get recognition from the government in the 2018 budget which committed to creating a taskforce representing each of the four parts of the UK "to share best practice and develop a national strategy for tackling this criminal activity and the societal ills that it fuels."

"Since that time, we've maintained dialogue with HM Treasury and are pleased that, despite challenges posed by COVID-19 and the reorganisation of many processes as a result of the UK's departure from the EU, their commitment to tackling illicit trade remains," he added.

"I continue to take a personal interest in this [and] If we see a need to resurrect the APPG in the future, then please rest assured we will do this," concluded Offord.

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