Pesticides, like all high value and branded products, are targeted by criminals producing counterfeits. It has become a very lucrative business for criminals, generating over €1 billion a year in Europe, constituting an estimated 9 to 14 % of the European market.
CropLife Europe’s Wishlist – what needs to be done
- empowerment of customs officials to be able to stop products “in transit” based on false and/or incomplete documentation or strong suspicion of potential for illegal placement on the EU market, providing the needed time for product testing
- better coordination between Customs and Pesticide Authorities to increase the level of seizures of counterfeit and illegal products and ensure that only licensed importers are permitted to import pesticides
- appropriate punishment for distribution and sale of counterfeit and illegal pesticides has to be taken to create deterrence and fake or illegal products need to be destroyed safely to prevent market re-entry and associated health and environmental risks
- prioritisation of illegal pesticides by customs (as a threat to human health and environment) and coordination of information on patterns in illegal pesticides across EU countries to further minimise the entry of illegal pesticides.
- Development of a shared digital platform permitting trans-European cooperation by enforcement authorities (customs, pesticide authorities and police) for sharing and receiving intelligence directly from supply chain intermediaries and industry about suspicious shipments.
As with any counterfeit and illegal trade we can see that criminal networks quickly adapt to new measures and therefore, all stakeholders need to continually work closely together. The crop protection industry is committed to continue investing its efforts to protect human health and environment.