Brussels, 8 February 2005
Statistics just published by the European Commission show a significant increase in the amount of counterfeit and pirated articles seized at the EU's external borders in 2003. Customs officials seized almost 100 million of such articles in 2003 compared with 85 million in 2002, of an estimated value of one billion euros. Of particular concern in terms of consumer health and safety is the increase in the number of seizures of games and children's toys, with 12 million seizures representing a 996% increase over 2002. Seizures of food products and medicines increased in the same period by 77%. The trend in recent years of a move from smuggling luxury goods to smuggling more everyday products continued in 2003. While the compilation of statistics for 2004 has not yet been completed, the results so far demonstrate that the customs authorities of the new Member States have intercepted a significant amount of counterfeit goods.
"Counterfeiting and piracy increasingly involve children's toys, medicines and food products and this constitutes a real danger to consumers" said EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács. "The customs authorities of the Member States are already working hard to combat this problem but we must take many more very concrete actions if we are to protect ourselves and the world from this threat to our safety and to our economy.
The 2003 statistics show that:
While the compilation of statistics for 2004 has not yet been completed, the results so far demonstrate that the customs authorities of the new Member States have been very active in this area since their accession on 1 May 2004. By way of example, Hungary seized approximately 300,000 face and body lotions in the first quarter, Malta seized 10,000 car parts, Lithuania intercepted 400,000 batteries, and Estonian customs intercepted 11 shipping vessels fully of counterfeit clothes.
For more information on the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, see:
See also MEMO/05/40