IP Key Latin America hosted the Workshop for Latin American Customs Officials on the Importance of Border Measures in Times of the Pandemic, focused on the countries of the Andean Community. It discussed the challenges custom officials face in their everyday work: counterfeiting, piracy and new potential threats in the context of the current pandemic.
Christophe Zimmerman of the SGS, Switzerland, taught participants the new strategies used by criminal organisations to ship illegal substances, as well as counterfeit products. Zimmerman also explained the utmost importance of risk analysis and coordinated work to fight these illegal activities, which not only affect the revenue of big companies, but also put at risk the health, safety and even lives of many.
Criminal groups are taking advantage of the current situation to import large consignments of illicit trade. Customs authorities must cope with an increase in the number of containers needed to be checked. Some Andean countries recently amended their legislation, thus bringing it closer to current European standards, which facilitates their ability to control different DPIs in the import, export, and transhipment of goods.
During the workshop, cases of counterfeit respirators identified in recent months were presented. It is therefore necessary in this context to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, in particular with the companies that are producing the COVID‑19 vaccine.
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