CHINA'S officials responsible for stamping out counterfeit products are not sufficiently street-wise to tell the fake from the genuine or cope with offenders, an international law firm warns. Speaking at a seminar yesterday, Deacons lawyer Alan Wells charged that the Administrations for Industry and Commerce (AIC) was inexperienced, although becoming increasingly effective. He advised victimised firms to employ an agency to work with the AIC where the infringements were taking place. He said: ''The agency should also be instructed to encourage the AIC to permit representatives from the investigation firm and the trade-mark owner to attend any subsequent raids. ''This should be done particularly as the AIC officers will not be expert in distinguishing between the fake and the genuine and will not be sufficiently street-wise to cope with the enterprising and often unscrupulous offender. ''Where it is difficult to tell the counterfeit from the genuine, it is desirable to have a technical expert from the client on hand to lend his expert opinion.'' Mr Wells said that while counterfeiting in China was rampant, authorities were treating the problem seriously. In September last year, the Ministry of Public Security released a circular to police departments throughout the country urging a crackdown on low-quality and counterfeit products. He said that while victims could bring proceedings in the People's Court, this could be slow: straightforward cases could take as long as three years to be decided. This leaves the AIC and the Administrative Authority for Patent Affairs, which performs both administrative and judicial functions, to effectively enforce trademarks, patents and designs. They are empowered to enter and search business premises, order an immediate stoppage on unlawful activities, destroy infringing goods and demand an account of profits.