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Global operation nets tens of thousands of counterfeits

20 febrero 2012

Global operation nets tens of thousands of counterfeits

Brussels, 20 February 2012

Press Release

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (US IPR Center) announced the seizure of tens of thousands of counterfeit and pirated goods at international mail facilities and express courier depots in the course of a global two-month operation that began in November 2011.

Forty-three countries participating in Operation Global Hoax II shared information and intelligence using CENcomm, the WCO’s secure communication tool, with the aim of stemming the growing flow of illicit counterfeit and pirated products being delivered to consumers via the post or by express courier services.

More than 30 000 parcels were detained and over 150,000 counterfeit or pirated items were seized during Global Hoax II by Customs administrations, including toys, pharmaceuticals, electronic goods, clothing, TV/movie DVDs, watches, mobile phones, and handbags as well as other illicit goods such as cannabis seeds, anabolic steroids, and amphetamines.

“The huge quantity and variety of counterfeit goods being traded across the globe is staggering and worrisome,” said WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya. “This Operation is just another example of the determination of the global Customs community and its partners to stop this illicit and often dangerous trade from flourishing with impunity,” added Mikuriya.

Counterfeiters are concentrating increasingly on sales to individuals using postal and express courier channels to move tens of thousands of counterfeit and pirated goods around the world rather than dispatching bulk shipments to intermediaries that are expensive to send and could more easily be tracked.

As of early February, thirty-three Customs administrations had reported the final results of their enforcement activities within the framework of Global Hoax II, with more results expected as investigations are wrapped up.

Global Hoax II was coordinated by the WCO with the close support of the US IPR Center and mirrors the success of Global Hoax I, a similar although more specific operation in 2010 that focused on pirated TV/movie DVDs and music CDs, resulting in the seizure of 142,000 DVDs and 28,000 CDs.

“The smuggling of counterfeit goods robs Americans of jobs, steals the creative content of our artists and diverts legitimate revenue from responsible industries to the pockets of organized crime," said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director, John Morton. "We thank the WCO for agreeing to coordinate this Operation and facilitate the cooperation of so many Member countries."

The WCO will continue its ongoing positive dialogue with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on the misuse of the international postal system by organized counterfeiting gangs, an engagement which UPU officials have welcomed given the global nature of the problem which requires an effective global solution.