Africa’s efforts to combat fake trade during 2010 FIFA World Cup applauded

28 七月 2010

Africa ’s efforts to combat fake trade during 2010 FIFA World Cup applauded

Brussels, 28 July 2010

Press Release

World Customs Organisation Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya today acknowledged and applauded the sterling actions of Customs, police and other officials in Africa to stem flows of counterfeit and fake merchandise entering South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

According to the South African Revenue Service, the efforts made by Customs in combating counterfeiting and piracy resulted in an increase in seizures of 23% from the previous year. This commitment continued with the vigilant policing of FIFA related items prior to and during the 2010 World Cup resulting in the interception of numerous shipments of counterfeit and fake items associated with the event worth millions of South African Rand.

Secretary General Mikuriya said, “In the world of football, fair play is a principle that has an important role to play both on and off the pitch, and the active steps taken by officials to prevent IPR infringements re-enforces the fairplay principle.” Mr. Mikuriya added, “While many of the seized products directly impact on global innovation, many of them are highly dangerous with devastating consequences for consumers.”

In April 2010, prior to the FIFA World Cup, the WCO in cooperation with the Customs services of Namibia, Mozambique, and South Africa ran a special FIFA-dedicated Customs operation, code named “Goals 2010”, which targeted counterfeit FIFA goods in the main seaports of the region. The five-day operation resulted in 24 containers being stopped for examination with more than 100,000 items of counterfeit or fake goods being intercepted. These goods included toys, shoes, sportswear, labels, bags, and accessories for computers and mobile telephones.

Operation Goals 2010 was undertaken as part of Operation Vala, a wider ongoing project initiated by Customs administrations in the East and Southern Africa region in January 2010 which now includes 36 countries in Africa, Europe and Central America as well as the participation of the WCO’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) network. Vala, a Zulu word which means “to close or clamp down”, targets all kinds of counterfeit products including other dangerous goods such as illicit drugs as well as alcohol and tobacco products.

To date, Customs authorities participating in Operation Vala have reported approximately 70 seizures covering heroin, cigarettes, cannabis, cocaine and pain relief medication such as buprenorphine to name a few. Counterfeit goods related to the 2010 FIFA World Cup that have been detained include famous brand names associated with footballs, soccer boots, caps, sportswear, mobile phone covers, handbags, and a host of other products.

The combined effects of these two operations caused a warehouse in Johannesburg to run out of space to accommodate the wave of counterfeit and fake goods being brought into South Africa. Clearly, criminal gangs had every intention of trying to make and launder as much money as possible during this global sporting event but decisive action by Customs dented their expectations and put a spoke in their illicit activities.

Mr. Mikuriya said, “Fighting the trade in counterfeit and fake goods, particularly those that affect public health and safety as well as jobs and government revenues, is an important issue that requires affirmative action across the globe.” He concluded, “The WCO will continue to build the IPR border enforcement capacity of Customs administrations worldwide as well as promote inter-agency and Customs-business partnerships as they have proven to be the best line of defence against this multi-million dollar industry in the hands of organized criminals.”