Successful Conclusion of Action IPR A/P Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy

16 March 2016

Brussels, 16 March 2016

Press Release

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in cooperation with the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) for the Asia/ Pacific (A/P) Region, concluded a WCO joint enforcement Action against Counterfeiting and Piracy Operation in the A/P region (Action IPR A/P). The operation, which took place in December 2015, was the first WCO operation in this region focusing on IPR, Health & Safety.

Under the direction of the WCO Secretariat and the RILO A/P, the 12-day IPR and health & safety focused Action resulted in the interception of 521,602 items and 201,951 kg, of illicit products across 498 cases. The largest number of cases (45) involved medication to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), making it the most frequently intercepted counterfeit product. In terms of the actual volume of products, spare parts for cars (156,887 items) and foodstuffs (49,048 kg) were the largest categories intercepted.

Among the different categories of illicit goods, a variety of products that could endanger the public’s health and safety, particularly for babies and small children, were intercepted by Customs authorities.  These included powerful dustproof masks, agricultural soil, diapers, baby carriers, toys, and water bottles.

One of the unique aspects of combatting counterfeit goods is that it requires a close cooperation and coordination with private industry. From the preparatory stage, Action IPR was carefully crafted to elicit as much private sector’s involvement as possible.

The operation greatly benefited from the use of the WCO’s secure Customs Enforcement communication tool, CENcomm to share Right Holder Contact Points, and the WCO’s Interface Public Membership (IPM) tool that connected Customs administrations and Right Holders.

“Train-the-Trainer” Workshops for Action IPR A/P were organized at the Royal Malaysian Customs Academy where a number of Right Holders provided participating Customs administrations with product identification training to familiarize them with their key characteristics.

Action IPR demonstrated that nothing is immune from counterfeiting; even products which are expected to have the highest levels of safety and quality are being exploited by counterfeiters.