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Brussels, 4 April 2005

Customs: Budapest counterfeit seminar, 4-7 April

The European Commission will, together with the Hungarian customs administration, host a seminar on combating counterfeiting and piracy from 4 to 7 April in Budapest, Hungary. The conference will bring together 130 counterfeiting experts from the customs administrations of Member States and of major trading partners such as China, USA and Turkey and from the business world with the objective of allowing an exchange of information on the latest trends and techniques used by fraudsters. On 6 April, participants will undertake operational controls, led by some of the best customs risk analysis specialists, at different Hungarian frontier points. Journalists are welcome to participate in these operations as well as to attend the press conference that will take place on 7 April at 13h00.

"The growing threat of counterfeiting, which not only harms our economies but also increasingly endangers the health and safety of European consumers, requires a very concrete and practical response by the EU" said European Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács. "This Seminar will help to improve the co-operation and information exchange between customs and business that is essential to combat this serious problem successfully".

The Seminar programme envisages that on Wednesday, 6 April, the participants will visit either Budapest harbour, Budapest international airport, the Hungarian customs postal centre in Budapest, or a Hungarian land border. The aim of these visits is to allow participants to study the customs techniques used to identify fraudulent goods, particularly counterfeit and pirated goods, as well as to examine consignments selected for opening on the basis of the selection techniques.

Commissioner Kovács and the Commissioner of the Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard, Major General János Nagy dr., will give a press conference on the results of the Seminar in the Hotel Flamenco, Tas vezér u. 7, 1113 Budapest, on Thursday, 7 April, at 13h00. Journalists who wish to participate in the press conference or in the examination of consignments targeted for opening on 6 April should inform the Communication Unit of the Customs and Finance Guard, fax +36-1-4569506 – Email: by 5 April at 15h00.

Counterfeiting undermines every economic sector – industrial, literary and artistic. Studies in 1998 and 1999 suggested that counterfeiting accounted for 5-7% of world trade (i.e. approximately 250 billion euro per year) and was responsible for the loss of 200,000 jobs in Europe. But in addition, with the increase in recent years of counterfeit medicines, surgical equipment, toys, food and drink, this activity is presenting a growing health and safety risk for EU consumers. Statistics published by the European Commission earlier this year (see IP/05/147 and MEMO/05/40) show a significant increase in the amount of counterfeit and pirated articles seized at the EU's external borders in 2003. Tackling this problem requires a range of measures including co-operation with right-holders whose intellectual property rights are being infringed, improved information exchange and sharing of information between EU customs administrations, and improved co-operation with the EU's main trading partner countries.

For further information on counterfeiting and piracy see:

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