WCO, Interpol step up joint fight against counterfeit products
The World Customs Organization and Interpol plan to work more closely and with the shipping industry to stop the proliferation of counterfeit products in international trade.
At a meeting in Brussels this week, the two organizations, along with the World Intellectual Property Organization, recommended four main actions:
* Increased cooperation and communication among all stakeholders.
* Increased enforcement and penalties to deter counterfeiting.
* Increased training and resources to law enforcement to combat counterfeiting.
* Raised public awareness of the full impact and costs of counterfeiting.
“We are currently reviewing ‘model legislation’ on border measures to protect intellectual property rights,” said WCO secretary general Michel Danet in a statement at the first Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting.
According to the WCO and Interpol, there are about $608 billion (500 billion euros) worth of counterfeit products traded on the global market each year. This amounts to about 7 percent of international trade, the organizations said.
The Global Business Leaders Alliance Against Counterfeiting voiced concern at the meeting about the problems with counterfeiting. Executives from Procter & Gamble, BAT and Unilever pointed out that counterfeiting impacts every consumer product, such as soaps, shampoos, razors, batteries, alcoholic beverages, auto parts, and medicines.
“This is a serious issue for our companies not just because it impacts sales, but more importantly because it affects consumer trust in our brands and companies,” said Anthony Simon, marketing president for Unilever Bestfoods.
“Industry must build greater awareness of the scope of counterfeiting, and we need to work with the public sector to develop better data to convince government leaders, and consumers, of the enormous impact it has,” Simon said.