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ASEM Customs cooperation: Fighting against counterfeit goods for fast moving consumer goods

11:09 | 09/03/2019

VCN- In the framework of ASEM Customs cooperation, on 6 March 2019 in Ho Chi Minh City, the General Department of Vietnam Customs coordinated with the European Anti-Counterfeiting Agency (OLAF) to organize activities for the deployment of Customs cooperation related to Combating Counterfeiting and Customs IPR Enforcement for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (JCO HYGIEA).

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Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs Mai Xuan Thanh (the second on the left) discussed with the Director of OLAF on the sidelines of the seminar on 6 March 2019. Photo: T.T

Over 60 delegates from member countries and international organizations including the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Commission (EC) attended the seminar.

In the context of globalization and liberalization, the increased trade volume has contributed to the rapid economic and commercial growth of the world but also posed threats to the public’s security, health and safety. One of these threats is the trafficking of counterfeit goods, contraband goods, and goods infringing intellectual property rights that have developed with increasing speed and diversity in the level of infringement, nature as well as the method of violation.

At the seminar, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs Mai Xuan Thanh emphasized the gradual increase in the volume of imported goods infringing intellectual property rights including fast moving consumer goods, directly affects the consumers' interests such as cosmetics, medicines, clothes, shoes and other fake items. In addition, offenders tend to use transit and transhipment procedures to avoid Customs inspection, thereby, implementing their fraudulent activities by shipping goods to a third country for the export to other countries and leaving a part of the goods in Vietnam.

Deputy Director General Mai Xuan Thanh also said that the Intellectual property infringement and trafficking of counterfeit goods has made huge profits for offenders, so they continuously implemented these illegal activities and well organize from the production, transportation, hide, storage and distribution. This is really a challenge for enforcement of law enforcement agencies in countries.

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Over 60 delegates from member countries and international organizations including the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Commission (EC) attended the seminar.

In addition, the collected data regarding the trafficking in counterfeit goods and contraband goods showed an annual increase from US $ 250 billion in 2008 to more than US $ 461 billion in 2013. Accordingly, counterfeit goods accounted for 2.5% of the world trade and up to 5% of total imports into the European Union. These figures showed over 80% increase compared to the results collected by the OECD in 2008.

Mr. Ernesto Bianchi, OLAF’s Director stressed that the commercial value of counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights is estimated at US$ 991 billion by 2022. The fight against counterfeit goods and reduction in trade losses is the reason for holding this seminar and our concern is to protect health for the community.

In order to implement the effective enforcement, it is important to tighten Customs control at relevant law enforcement agencies, and international organizations and right holders. Cooperation activities can be carried out in the form of information sharing, developing intelligence networks, collaborative training and capacity building for intellectual property rights (IPR) at the border.

In addition, some ASEM member countries also presented practices and shared experiences in fighting against counterfeit goods, smuggled goods and goods infringing intellectual property right. Also, Vietnam Customs posed current challenges, in which the limitation in the public awareness on the importance of intellectual property right protection is one of the barriers that law enforcement agencies need to remove to perform more effectively.

Deputy Director General of Vietnam Customs Mai Xuan Thanh hopes that this seminar will be an opportunity for in-depth discussions on all aspects of JCO's related activities. Thereby, agreeing on the general operation plan and detailed actions for HYGIEA operation.

The seminar’s results will be included in the report and presented at the 13th Meeting of the ASEM Working Group on Customs Matters (AWC) in Spain in 2019. The final report must be approved by General Director/ Member of the 13th ASEM meeting in Vietnam in 2019.

By Thanh Thuy/ Ngoc Loan