Brussels, 10 November 2006
(see also MEMO/06/421)
The European Commission has published the latest Customs statistics showing that counterfeiting and piracy continues to be a growing threat in Europe. In 2005, EU Customs seized more than 75 million counterfeited and pirated goods. Dangerous fakes are on the march. Foodstuffs, medicines and other goods that can seriously damage the health of consumers continue to be faked in large quantities. Changes in the routes of fraud, an increased range of products being copied and the use of the internet in selling counterfeit goods make customs job even more challenging. The European Commission response is being implemented via the Community's Anti-Counterfeiting Customs Action Plan.
"A secret wave of dangerous fakes is threatening the people in Europe" warns EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács. "The key is to be faster than the counterfeiters. We must quickly identify, and act to deal with, new routes of fraud and constantly changing counterfeit patterns to protect our health, safety and the economy."
Customs seized around 75 million articles in 2005, and the number of customs cases involving fakes increased to more than 26,000. Growth in seizures of fakes dangerous to health and safety also continued. For the first time ever, more than 5 million counterfeit foodstuff, drinks and alcohol products were seized. More than 500,000 counterfeit medicines were seized in 2005.
Most fakes are now household items rather than luxury goods and the high quality of fakes often makes identification impossible without technical expertise. The increasing use of internet to sell fakes (mainly medicines) increases the challenge customs face.
Since the launch of the Commission's Customs Action Plan to combat counterfeiting and piracy, the following actions have been initiated:
For more information on the 2005 Customs seizures of counterfeited goods see: