Successful pilot launch of the WCO IPR, Health and Safety Programme online training

14 December 2020

On 7, 8, 9, and 11 December 2020, the WCO organized a virtual National Workshop on combating counterfeiting and piracy, for the benefit of Namibia’s Customs and Excise, Police, as well as Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), and some private sector Rights Holders representatives.

This virtual workshop, funded by the Customs Cooperation Fund of Japan (CCF/Japan), was the first online training under the WCO IPR, Health and Safety Programme, following up on the results of the recently conducted Operation STOP. The Workshop aimed at informing the participants about effective enforcement strategies on how Customs could prevent counterfeit products from entering Members’ national territories, with a specific focus on the illegal trafficking of medicines and medical supplies linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WCO Deputy Director of Compliance and Enforcement, Mr. Stefan Kirsch, emphasized the potential challenges ahead of Customs administrations in the fulfilment of their mission to ensure the security and safety of people and society, and drew the attention of the participants to the WCO tools and instruments available to Members that could help them to efficiently address illicit trade issues resulting from the pandemic.

The Director for International Technical Cooperation, Customs and Tariff Bureau, from Japan Ministry of Finance, Mr. Aramaki Hidetoshi, stated that he strongly believes that the Customs’ role, consisting of intercepting illegal and counterfeit goods at borders, has become more and more important to ensure the smooth circulation of legitimate trade around the globe, while safeguarding people’s lives and the society.

The Deputy Director of Trade Facilitation, from the Namibia Customs and Excise Administration, Ms. Susan Beakus, expressed her appreciation to the WCO as well as to Japan Customs for making this online training possible, and shared her conviction that this had definitely enhanced participants' knowledge in the IPR field.

Over four days, the Workshop brought together some 30 participants who shared their experiences, leading to very open interactions and established a firm basis for future synchronized efforts to effectively fight the scourge of counterfeiting and piracy. The third day of the Workshop was devoted to the training by Rights Holders, who explained some essential notions to help Customs officers distinguish between genuine and counterfeit products.