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European Commission - Press release

Europe strikes against the trafficking of counterfeit goods

Brussels, 27 June – more than 28.000 pieces/pairs of counterfeit textile products and accessories entering the EU by road via its Eastern border have been confiscated as a result of joint Customs operation (JCO) "Fireblade". During the operational phase, large consignments of counterfeit goods, cigarettes and perfumes were detained in several EU countries thanks to enhanced border and inland customs controls.

"Flows of fake and smuggled goods threaten the integrity of the internal market. This is why the Commission has just launched an action plan to fight against smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol along the EU Eastern border. "Fireblade" sets a good example for stepping up our efforts in this field," said Algirdas Šemeta, EU Commissioner responsible for taxation Customs and Anti-fraud. – "I am pleased to see that this joint action taken by OLAF, other Commission services and national customs offices succeeded in protecting citizens, legitimate businesses and the EU financial interests."

This Joint Customs Operation was aimed at detecting the smuggling of counterfeit clothing and accessories in commercial consignments entering the EU by road. Customs controls were focused on means of transport entering the EU customs territory from third countries via the Eastern EU border. Although the operational phase (coordinated from OLAF Headquarters in Brussels) took place from 5 to 14 April 2011, the results can only be made public now not to interfere with further enquiries which had to be performed by the various customs authorities.

Background

JCO “Fireblade” was organized by the Hungarian Republic (National Tax and Customs Administration) in close cooperation with the European Commission (OLAF) and with Europol. All EU Member States and some non-EU countries (Croatia, Ukraine and Moldova) were invited to participate in this operation.

JCO “Fireblade” involved an intensive exchange of information. This allowed an intelligence-based targeting of smuggling flows of counterfeit products transported by road vehicles (trucks, private cars and buses). All participating countries used the IT communication tool provided by OLAF for secure, real-time exchange of information and intelligence. In total 123 reports were communicated by the customs services participating in JCO “Fireblade”; detention of counterfeit goods carried in private cars has also been reported.

Goods seized at the occasion of this operation represent at least 1 million Euro in terms of the market value of counterfeit goods and an additional 1,5 million Euro in terms evaded duties and taxes on smuggled cigarettes.

For more information:

Action Plan the Commission to fight against smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol along the EU Eastern border

Contacts :

David Boublil (+32 2 296 55 73)

Maud Scelo (+32 2 298 15 21)


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