Industry Report Calls For Fight Against Counterfeits In Free Trade Zones

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By Kelly Burke for Intellectual Property Watch

A new report released today by the International Chamber of Commerce Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) calls for increased regulation in free trade zones to stop the facilitation of counterfeiting and piracy in these areas.

The report [pdf] addresses the “increasing abuse of free zones by organized crime networks to facilitate the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods” and urges governments all over the world to “retake control of free trade zones and ensure that national laws and customs procedures are effectively applied.”

“Free trade zones are intended to improve free movement of goods to facilitate legitimate international trade and development, but this does not mean that effective Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement in free trade zones must be compromised to achieve these goals,” BASCAP Director Jeffrey Hardy said in an ICC press release.

The report offers key actions for the World Customs Organization (WCO), World Trade Organization (WTO), national governments. Some of the recommendations include: strengthening government adherence to international conventions, empowering customs authorities, and clarifying the jurisdiction of the WTO Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Titled “Controlling the Zone: Balancing facilitation and control to combat illicit trade in the world’s Free Trade Zones,” the report was presented at the 2013 WCO IT Conference and Exhibition in Dubai.

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