World Customs Organization2003-01-28 15:27:09

WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION TO TELL WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM OF CONCERN AT THE SCALE OF GLOBAL COUNTERFEITING

Delegates to the World Economic Forum in Davos today will hear the World Customs Organization (WCO) echo concern at the huge scale of trade in counterfeit goods and that the illicit trade is controlled by organised crime and is being used to fund terrorist activity. Estimates have placed the value of the illicit trade as high as US$450 billion.

While the majority of goods seized by customs services around the world involve clothing, CD's, videos, perfumes, computer software, and watches, recent trends have seen the range of counterfeit goods being extended to such everyday items as laundry detergent and shampoo. In addition, seizures of pharmaceuticals, aircraft parts and motor vehicle parts give rise to concern about public safety. Also some countries now estimate that approx. 15% of all contraband cigarettes seized are counterfeit.

The WCO assists its 161 member administrations put in place effective detection programmes through the sharing of information, the development of model legislation and by encouraging the establishment of close working partnership with business interests. This assists governments carry out their responsibilities under the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) which specifically identifies the importance of border measures in controlling illicit counterfeit trade.

In a related initiative, the WCO has also recently established an international Task Force to secure the international trade supply chain from cross border crime and international terrorism. Because counterfeit goods cross international borders, sometimes several times, the Task Force is exploring ways in which Customs administrations can use technology, information systems and partnership with trade to enable them to identify and seize illicit consignments of these and other high-risk goods. An important aspect of the work that is being done is to determine ways in which the operational capacity of customs administrations in developing countries can be enhanced.


For more information contact:
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B-1210 BRUSSELS
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Tel:     +32 2 209 92 11
Fax:     +32 2 209 92 92



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