World / Europe

Fake goods, 130 mln cigarettes seized in EU-led operation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-06 21:29

BRUSSELS - Over 1.2 million counterfeit goods and 130 million cigarettes were seized during an international joint customs operation coordinated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), according to a European Commission statement issued Monday.

The Operation, code-named REPLICA, targeted the import of counterfeit goods by sea. Customs authorities carried out targeted physical or X-ray controls on several hundred selected containers.

These checks uncovered a wide array of counterfeit goods including cigarettes, perfumes, car and bicycle spare parts, toys, fashion accessories and electric devices.

The seizures of cigarettes alone prevented the loss of 25 million euros ($31 million) in customs duties and taxes. And the amount of cigarettes seized is equivalent to what 17,000 people, smoking a packet a day, would consume in a year. In terms of overall seizures in this operation, the value of the equivalent genuine products is estimated to be over 65 million euros, said the statement.

Algirdas Semeta, European Union Commissioner responsible for customs and anti-fraud said the operation showed what can be achieved when customs authorities, international partners and industry work together to fight fakes.

The two-week operation was organized within the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) framework as part of joint efforts in the fight against counterfeit goods. The results of the operation were shared at a debriefing meeting held in Brussels last week.

The operation was coordinated by OLAF with the support of a team of 11 liaison officers from the EU Member States and China, all working together in Brussels. It was the first time that a Chinese Customs Liaison Officer worked from the operational headquarters at OLAF.

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