Clyde & Co LLP, 16 May 2021
The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime recently published a research report entitled “China’s New Silk Road: Navigating the organized crime risk” examining the convergence of planned infrastructure and trade route development projects as envisioned within China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and established trafficking routes for criminal activities such as drugs, illicit environmental commodities and people. The paper argues that the economic benefits across Asia and Africa, for example increased trade, employment opportunities and economic growth are likely to be exploited by criminals and suggests that risks of this nature should also receive appropriate levels of consideration.
This should apply not just to the governments and authorities that are seeking to capitalise on BRI but also to the companies that attempt to benefit from the emergence of new markets and trading opportunities.
It’s an important issue as many of the proposed development initiatives are situated in less mature regulatory environments and are already exploited by prolific criminal activity. Illegal activity is likely to be made easier by the increase in connectivity that new transport links and free trade zones will create.
Companies that are seeking to take advantage of the opportunities generated by the BRI should assess the criminal risks to help avoid being unwittingly involved in activities that breach legal and regulatory requirements.