Saturday, February 09, 2008

Asian Exporters Urged to Cooperate Over Product Piracy

Asian Exporters Urged to Cooperate Over Product Piracy

Asian exporting countries, mainly China, should provide enough information about their exports to help in the fight against counterfeiting, the head of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) said Tuesday.

WCO secretary general Michel Danet said a transit hub like the Gulf emirate of Dubai could not curb the transiting of counterfeits if exporting countries did not cooperate.

"The problem for the emirate is making sure that all this trade is moving while still respecting international laws," he told AFP on the sidelines of a conference on combating counterfeiting and piracy held in Dubai.

"If Dubai cannot rely on the cooperation of Asian countries and (mainly) China when there are 11 million containers (being handled annually in the emirate), not everything can be checked," he said.

He said the WCO and its partners, who took part in the fourth global congress to combat counterfeiting that ended Tuesday, want to see cooperation between exporting and importing countries, including the transiting hubs.

In Dubai "they are trying to manage the problem. They have put in place the needed legislation and the teams ... but they don't have information about what is arriving from China," for example, he said.

The city state Jebel Ali Free Zone is home to the largest man-made port in the world that handle the biggest container ships. Dubai ports handled some 8.92 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2006.

David Benjamin, co-chair of Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy, urged conference participants to call for "shutting down piracy in free trade zones" worldwide, among other measures to fight counterfeiting.

Danet told a press conference earlier that Arab countries are cooperating to fight global counterfeiting, adding that the WCO has established cooperation with the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

"The GCC countries have understood what is at stake and they ... don't want to be contaminated by illicit goods," he said.

"Counterfeiting today kills people," Danet said, pointing out that medicines are also being counterfeited.

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