WCO sub-regional workshop on combatting counterfeiting and piracy for Mercosur countries and their neighbours

08 June 2023

From 31 May to 2 June 2023, the World Customs Organization (WCO) held a sub-regional workshop on combatting counterfeiting and piracy in Iguazú, Argentina, located in the “Triple Frontier”, or tri-border area, between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

The three-day workshop, which was attended by 26 Customs officials from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, sought to strengthen cooperation between the Customs administrations of the region in order to boost the efforts undertaken by each country to provide better protection for intellectual property rights (IPR).

The relevant WCO tools and instruments in this field and communication between Customs and other stakeholders, in this case the judicial authorities and the private sector, aimed at creating synergy between the activities of all those involved were among the salient items on the workshop’s agenda.

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to presentations from the private sector. Seventeen rights holders representing a variety of different brands presented to the participants the essential characteristics of products bearing their marks and demonstrated techniques that Customs officials can use to detect counterfeit products.

The workshop concluded with a panel discussion on the theme of “Judicial experience in investigations involving counterfeiting and synergy with the private sector” hosted by Dr. Hernán Viri, Federal Judge of the Argentine city of Gualeguaychú, and Enrique Caride, President of the Argentine Civil Anti-Piracy Association (ACAA). The seizure of counterfeit products requires some level of meticulousness in managing the procedure and genuine cooperation between the judicial authorities, Customs and the private sector.

In addition, a closed session, exclusively for Customs officials, focused on risk management and targeting techniques used to combat IPR fraud, featuring a live presentation of the WCO’s IPR CENcomm secure communication tool.

In his closing statement, Mr. Guillermo Michel, Director General of Argentine Customs, while thanking the WCO for having agreed to his request, emphasized that “Customs’ fight against counterfeiting and piracy is based on facts not rhetoric,” adding that “This workshop, which brings together WCO experts in the fight against IPR infringements, allows us to provide appropriate tools not only to our Customs colleagues in Argentina but also to those from other Mercosur and neighbouring countries, so that they can be more efficient in their daily work.”

This workshop was led by an IPR expert from the WCO Secretariat with the support of two Technical Operative Advisers certified in the field of IPR.

For further information on the activities carried out in the area of IPR protection, please contact us at: IPRteam@wcoomd.org.