Brussels, 8 June 2007
The WCO welcomes the G8's commitment to combating counterfeiting and piracy
The Secretary General of the WCO welcomes the G8 leaders’ political commitment to combating counterfeiting and piracy more effectively as well as their recognition of the international Customs Community’s robust efforts in this respect. The agreements by the G8 leaders, presented at the conclusion of the Summits in Gleneagles (Scotland), St Petersburg (Russian Federation) and Heiligendamm (Germany), are aimed at reducing counterfeiting and piracy through concrete measures and at strengthening partnership between all the countries and international organizations with competence in this domain.
Counterfeiting and piracy pose a real threat to the economic and social fabric of all the world’s nations. Nothing is sacred any more: whether it be drugs to treat breast cancer, brake pads made from grass, flowers, fruit or jam, all sectors of the economy are afflicted 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 response.
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 provide Customs administrations with a set of standards as well as an action plan intended to curb and check 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 various State agencies and international organizations concerned by this issue.
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, so that consumers are 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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