Basham visits China, signs counterfeit enforcement pact
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Ralph Basham traveled to China last week where he signed a memorandum of cooperation with China Customs on combating trade in counterfeit goods, the agency said on its Web site.
Under the agreement, CBP will provide China with information on the sources of goods it seizes at ports of entry, and China will respond within 90 days on the status of efforts to track down the makers or shippers of fake goods.
About 80 percent of the value of the 14,775 shipments of counterfeit goods seized last year came from China.
“We’ve got to start dealing with the source of the problem. We can’t expect to rely upon interdiction to be our tool in order to stop these products,” Basham said.
The anti-counterfeiting effort was first agreed to a few weeks ago in Washington during high-level talks known as the Strategic Economic Dialogue. The cooperation comes on increased concern about the quality and safety of Chinese goods, especially food products, after tainted pet food, toothpaste and other products were recently discovered or led to health problems in the United States and other countries.
Food safety is under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration, but CBP is the lead agency on the border controlling the entry of goods and cargo. Before these recent scares, American businesses and the U.S. government had been increasing efforts to combat the import of counterfeit medicine, DVDs, apparel and other goods from China and elsewhere.
In addition to discussions on trade-related matters with China Customs Director Mu Xinsheng, Basham extended an offer for CBP to assist China with security for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.