WCO IPR border enforcement workshop held in Mozambique

22 April 2024

From 15 to 19 April 2024, the World Customs Organization (WCO) conducted a national workshop on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in Maputo, Mozambique. The workshop was attended by 25 Mozambique Revenue Authority (MRA) officials and made possible through the financial support of the Customs Cooperation Fund of Japan (CCF/Japan).

The methods used by criminals to counterfeiting and piracy of goods have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. As a result, Customs must reaffirm the importance of IPR protection and, where necessary, update its officers’ knowledge while adapting its strategy.

This workshop was in keeping with the WCO's approach under its IPR Strategy, aimed at combating IPR infringements and piracy in international trade, a central pillar of which is the organization of capacity-building activities.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Fernando Alage, Deputy Director General of Mozambique Customs in MRA, thanked the WCO Secretariat for organizing this workshop and CCF/Japan for its financial support, which was extremely important to his country. He highlighted the challenges facing the MRA in the area of IPR protection and encouraged officials to take full advantage of this opportunity and to participate actively in the workshop.

During the five days of training, participants learned about the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), the theoretical concepts surrounding IPR and the broad spectrum of the most frequent IPR infringements encountered over the past year. They were also updated on the latest WCO tools and instruments for managing IPR-related risks.

This workshop gave experts an opportunity to present to participants the WCO’s new tool titled "Case studies and risk indicators to identify IPR, health and safety infringing goods related to e-commerce” and to explain how it could support Customs officers’ work when processing goods traded through e-commerce. Participants also familiarized themselves with the features of the IPR CENcomm tool, used for secure communication in relation to IPR infringements.

The second day was dedicated to various presentations by stakeholders, including right holders. Some of them sought to provide participants with an overview of the efforts made by national agencies to combat counterfeiting and piracy, while others shared with the audience their techniques for detecting cases of IPR infringements involving their products. Participating stakeholders also discussed possible strategies to combat counterfeiting and piracy at regional and national levels.

The workshop concluded with operational activities at the Ports of Maputo, where participants were able to put into practice what they had just learned about risk management and familiarize themselves with IPR enforcement procedures in the field. The strategies discussed during the workshop could also be applied under real-life conditions.

The workshop was led by an expert from the WCO Secretariat, with the support of one WCO IPR Technical Operational Adviser (TOA) from South Africa and a national IPR expert from Japan.

For more information about IPR protection-related activities, please contact us at: IPRteam@wcoomd.org