Beijing issues call for international fight against fakes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 January, 2011, 12:00am

Customs authorities have called for more international collaboration to fight rising global demand for counterfeits in the internet era.

Senior officials with the General Administration of Customs and its branches in Guangdong say that many overseas orders for counterfeits of famous international brands have been filed over the internet in the past two or three years.

The quantities of many such orders were very small and could be handled by small logistics companies or even courier services.

Meng Yang, director of the administration's politics and law department, said in Zhongshan yesterday that the agency needed to adopt new measures to deal with small packages of fake goods.

But she also criticised some other countries for complaining about the infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in China while failing to do their own jobs properly.

Declining to name the countries, Meng said: 'The violation of IPR will continue [in China] if the demand in their countries keep growing.'

Quoting Japanese Police statistics, the Beijing office of the Japan External Trade Organisation said that in 2009, a third of fake goods seized in Japan were delivered by international post, and that the proportion jumped to 79 per cent in the first half of last year. It said nearly 90 per cent of international post items containing fake goods were sent from China.

Toshio Taniyama, director of the office's IPR department, said it also preferred joint cross-border campaigns targeting IPR violations and hoped China's government could provide more details of the cases it intercepted.

One example he welcomed was a joint crackdown on counterfeit goods by customs authorities in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau that will last until late March.

Tam Yiu-keung, assistant commissioner of Hong Kong's Customs and Excise Department, said such joint action had become more important in dealing with counterfeiters who were using new tricks to evade inspection.

For example, some fake goods from Guangdong were carried to Hong Kong and then couriered to other countries, lowering the likelihood that they would be checked when they arrived overseas because of Hong Kong's better reputation.

He Haoqian , brand protection manager at Panasonic's Guangzhou branch, said a lot of fake packaging bearing its logo and brand name was shipped to Hong Kong before being used to pack fake appliances.

Beijing has launched a national campaign against piracy ahead of President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington next week, at which copyright infringements in China - a constant irritant in Sino-US ties - could be on the agenda in talks with US President Barack Obama.

Customs said they had uncovered more than 2,000 cases of intellectual property rights violations worth 120 million yuan (HK$141 million) in the past three months.

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The proportion of fake goods seized in Japan that were sent by international post in the first half of 2010: 79%