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Combating illegal trade and the shadow economy in Europe – SUMS’ Professor Colin Williams paves the way

 CW-speaking  ITIC

Senior tax policy, tax administration and customs officials from 19 Eurasian countries met in Bucharest at the end of April 2015 to learn more about the latest strategies to tackle multibillion-dollar revenue losses stemming from illegal trade, counterfeits, and other aspects of the shadow economy.

Sheffield University Management School’s Professor Colin Williams (pictured above, and with other conference delegates) gave the opening academic overview (PDF) and closing review of policy approaches.

As one of only two academic experts invited, other speakers included senior officials from the U.S. State Department, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Customs Organization, Interpol and Europol, as well as senior officials from multi-national corporations in the tobacco (JT International, British American Tobacco), alcohol (SABMiller) and pharmaceuticals (Pfizer) industries.

The two-day ‘International Conference on the Shadow Economy and Taxation’ was co-hosted by the International Tax and Investment Center, a non-profit research and education organisation focused on tax reform and public-private initiatives to improve the investment climate in transition economies, and Euromonitor Business Consulting Services.

Professor Williams, along with experienced enforcement officials, concluded the conference by advising that a new approach was essential as we cannot police ourselves out of the current situation, and argued that we need to make it easier and more attractive for people and businesses to move from the shadow to the formal economy.

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