Refresher workshop for WCO accredited IPR experts

23 March 2023

On 22 March 2023, the World Customs Organization (WCO) held a refresher workshop for accredited, recognized and pre-accredited experts in intellectual property rights (IPR), with funding from the Customs Cooperation Fund of Korea (CCF Korea).

A total of 31 experts from 23 Customs administrations played an active role in this online event, during which they were able to familiarize themselves with the new WCO Accredited Experts (ACE) Portal launched in September 2022. The ACE Portal is a web-based platform that facilitates the WCO management and mobilization of subject matter experts from a global perspective, putting at the centre the expert who can use the new platform to manage their expert profile.

The representative of the WCO Secretariat welcomed the achievements made over the past three years under the IPR, Health and Safety Programme with the ongoing support of accredited experts. These experts act as the driving force behind the roll-out of training activities for Members, with their efforts backed up by the recent design and roll-out of a module on the trafficking of illicit drugs which was launched in May 2022 via the WCO’s CLiKC! online learning platform.

Recent developments linked to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) were presented to participants during the workshop by an expert from the WTO Secretariat.

The WCO Secretariat also gave an online demonstration of the new CEN data visualization tool, which now features interactive dashboards that allow for easy access to and analysis of CEN data, including data on IPR infringements.

The main focus of the workshop was the 2020 version of the IPR strategy approved by the 41st Meeting of the Enforcement Committee (EC), which centres around five topics: awareness-raising, cooperation, capacity building, risk management and information exchange as well as crosscutting issues.

Particular emphasis was also placed on the recent tools developed under the WCO’s IPR, Health and Safety Programme, namely the Training Handbook on Legal and Practical Measures Against Offences Relating to Intellectual Property Rights, the Self-Assessment Tool to assist WCO Members in the fight against IPR-related fraud, case studies and risk indicators to identify IPR, health and safety infringing goods related to e-commerce as well as the Guidelines on environmentally safe storage and destruction of IPR infringing goods, and the IPR CENcomm Group secure communication tool.

The experts were invited to promote these tools, which are the culmination of work by the WCO Secretariat aimed at supporting Members in their efforts to achieve improved IPR protection.

An open discussion provided experts with the opportunity to share with the audience their recent experiences in tackling challenges relating to IPR protection, and also to express their support for the WCO’s activities.

Finally, the experts organized themselves into working groups that would focus on clearly defined thematic areas with a view to developing and standardizing the necessary equipment that would be used during future training sessions on the basis of the new tools developed by the Secretariat.

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