Working against fake goods a priority
China vowed Monday to become an Asian-Pacific model in the fight against counterfeiting, while enhancing co-operation with the international community.
"The Chinese Government has a strong attitude and confidence in fighting counterfeiting and will continue to strictly fulfil its international obligations and further its co-operation with the region in terms of IPR protection," said Vice-Premier Wu Yi in a letter to the Global Congress/World Customs Organization (WCO) Regional Forum on Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
Following the First Global Congress on fightingcounterfeiting held in Brussels in May, the two-day forum is one of the most significant events in the region, officials say. Itis also a major effort by the General Administration of Customs of China since it was nominated as vice-chair of the WCO in June.
Countries in the region, their administrations, agencies and private sector partners have identified counterfeiting as a major problem. It causes untold harm to national and business interests through the loss of tax and company revenues, diversion of government resources, higher costs for law enforcement and negative impacts on economic development, employment and investment.
Data available at the forum shows that trade in counterfeitsendangers the health, safety and security of consumers. Nearly US$600 billion a year is traded in fake goods, and a large proportion of it goes to funding international organized crime.
"Combating counterfeiting has become a major agenda of the international community as the trade in this sector enlarges and grows as a problem which requires governments at all levels to place a higher priority on it," said Kunio Mikuriya, WCO deputy secretary general.
The forum, servingto enhance co-operation and identify areas for improving synergy and action, will discuss and pass a Shanghai Initiative Tuesday. It should guide participating countries in IPR enforcement and make their work more effective.
Mikuriya praised China's efforts in fighting counterfeiting and urged the country to be more dedicated.
To fulfil its commitment, the nation needs to improve its legislative and judiciary systems. The government has set up a national work team on IPR protection with Wu as its head, with 12 principals from involved governmental departments such as jurisdiction, commerce and industry participating.
In the three years since China's entry into the World Trade Organization, Chinese customs agents have ferreted out more than 1,500 trademark infringement cases. Crimes uncovered continue to increase at a yearly rate of more than 30 per cent.
The Chinese customs administration has also mobilized a nationwide campaign to crack down oncounterfeits and piracy mainly in the area of trademarks, copyrights and patent protection through September 2004 until August next year.