Global Financial Integrity

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GFI Launches Database—GFTrade—to help Developing Countries Generate Millions in Additional Public Revenue


Implementation by Poor and Emerging Market Governments would Greatly Reduce Trade Misinvoicing

GFTrade Provides Users with Real-Time Price Analysis for 80,000 Goods Categories

WASHINGTON, DC –Today Global Financial Integrity (GFI) launches its new database tool—GFTrade—with real-time price analyses to measure trade misinvoicing risks for 80,000 goods categories. Trade misinvoicing accounts for hundreds of billions in illicit financial flows from developing countries, and in curtailing these outflows, GFTrade would generate millions of dollars in additional domestic revenue.

“GFTrade is a game-changer for development,” commented GFI Managing Director Tom Cardamone. “Developing economies lost at least US$875 billion due to trade misinvoicing in 2013. That’s US$875 billion that wasn’t taxed accurately or directed back into the domestic economy for investment and providing government and social services.”

Trade misinvoicing is a method for moving money illicitly across borders that involves deliberately misreporting the value of a commercial transaction on an invoice submitted to customs departments. There are four primary reasons why an individual or business misinvoices trade: money laundering, directly evading taxes and customs duties, (fraudulently) claiming tax incentives, and dodging capital controls.

GFTrade is a cloud-based dataset and interface with world market pricing for 80,000 Harmonized System (HS) codes based on trade data from 30 countries, which conducted US$7.5 trillion in trade in 2015. Seven of the world’s ten-largest trade economies (by volume) are included in the dataset: the United States, Germany, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Italy. The U.S. data alone represents approximately 10 million individual trades every month and the tool contains the most robust trade dataset available. Users, be they customs officers, other government investigators, or private sector trade facilitators, harness this huge database by simply entering an HS code or a description and the quantity and price of that same good as recorded on the invoice. GFTrade displays in text and graphs how the price on the invoice compares to previous trades of similar goods by the same trading partners. If the invoice value veers significantly—over or under—from typical prices during the last 12 months, an investigation can be conducted to determine the reason.

“It is staggering that so much illicit money is being siphoned out of developing countries through trade transactions each year,” remarked GFI President Raymond Baker. “Once more and more countries start using GFTrade, businesses and individuals are going to realize that they can’t get away with that sort of behavior anymore. This is exactly why GFI has always advocated transparency as the key to addressing systemic financial illegality and secrecy.”

Global Financial Integrity is launching GFTrade at a joint event with the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency on November 9th from 9:30am-12:00pm at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC. Tom Cardamone will demonstrate GFTrade as part of a panel on “Progressing International and National Responses to Illicit Financial Flows” from 10:30-11:45am. To register for this event or to learn more, please visit our website.

For all press inquiries or to schedule an interview with Mr. Cardamone or Mr. Baker, contact Christine Clough at / +1 202 510 1548.  On-camera spokespersons are available in Washington, DC.



Notes to Editors

  • Click here to read a blog post describing GFTrade in more detail, including screen shots.
  • Click here to access country-specific estimate of illicit financial flows and trade misinvoicing.
  • Click here to sign up to attend the November 9th launch event at the World Bank and see the agenda and list of speakers.


Christine Clough
+1 202 510 1548 (cell/mobile)
+1 202 293 0740 ext.231 (Office)