World Customs Organization2008-05-15 13:13:14

WCO welcomes GB commitment to combat counterfeiting and piracy

The Secretary General of the WCO welcomes the G8 leaders' renewed political support for the international Customs Community's robust efforts to combat intellectual property right (IPR) infringements. The agreements by the G8 leaders, presented at the conclusion of the Gleneagles (Scotland), St Petersburg (Russian Federation) and Heiligendamn (Germany) Summits, are aimed at reducing counterfeiting and piracy through more effective enforcement measures, particularly by enhancing partnership with other countries and international organizations having competence in this domain.

Counterfeiting and piracy are a genuine threat to the entire world's economic and social fabric. Nothing is sacred any more: whether it be cancer drugs, brake pads made from grass, flowers, fruit or jam, all sectors of the economy are affected by this blight. Every country has fallen prey to counterfeiting and piracy, and most especially developing and least developed countries. According to the latest available statistics, Customs is responsible for 80% of the seizures of counterfeit or pirated goods made at borders. This reflects its leading role in protecting intellectual property rights. The urgency of the situation requires a proportionate, specific and pragmatic counterattack.

The WCO, with its 171 Member Customs administrations, has responded to the G8's calls by stepping up its efforts to combat IPR crime. It will offer Customs administrations a set of standards as well as an action plan aimed at curbing and checking this illegal trade. The Organization will assist its Members to implement these standards, especially by building their capacities in terms of legislation, training, risk analysis and targeting of suspect consignments, information exchange, international co-operation and partnership with rights holders, the relevant State agencies and international organizations.

Finally, in support of these measures the WCO Secretariat is organizing the Fourth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy in February 2008 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization and Interpol. This event will echo the G8's message by stressing that many governments are determined to implement strong, tangible and concerted measures to fight this growing problem. It will also pass on this message to the layperson and make consumers fully aware of the risks they run by using - increasingly without their knowledge - counterfeit goods.

Michel Danet, Secretary General of the WCO, believes it is our shared duty to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable against this criminal activity which is damaging the economic and social well-being of nations and threatening the health and safety of consumers.

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