Brussels, 31 May 2007
(see also MEMO/07/214)
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 2006. Customs officials seized more than 250 million of such articles in 2006 compared with 75 million in 2005 and 100 million in 2004. Medicines, cigarettes and other goods that can seriously damage the health of consumers continue to be faked in large quantities. Changes in the routes used by criminals to trade in fake goods, the use of the internet and the transport of small quantities by air or postal traffic make customs job even more challenging. However, customs' reply has never been as high as in 2006 with more than 36.000 seizures, an increase of around 40% compared with 2005.
"Counterfeiting continues to constitute a dangerous threat for our health, safety and the economy" warns EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács. "I welcome the work done so far by the customs national administrations. However, I encourage all stakeholders to continue to cooperate and take actions at all appropriate levels: business, national customs administrations, police and other enforcement authorities. The public also has a responsibility here by not being tempted by the cheap fake holiday bargain. International customs cooperation with our major trading partners, in particular China (and India) needs to be further implemented."
Close cooperation between customs has inevitably played a role in the increase in seizures made during 2006. A good example of the fruitful results of targeted cooperation is the successful outcome of Operation DAN, which was carried out in September 2006. A total of 92 containers were seized, containing a wide range of products including fake toys, sunglasses, shoes and imitation car parts.
This joint operation took place over three weeks in the autumn of 2006 and involved ports in 13 EU Member States. It was co-ordinated by the European Commission and controls were focused on counterfeit goods from China.
This joint operation was part of the Commission's Customs Action Plan to combat counterfeiting and piracy (see latest developments in IP/06/1541).
The 2006 statistics show that:
For more information on the 2006 Customs seizures of counterfeited goods see: