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SE Asia customs authorities share best practices at IP Key dialogues

IP Key SEA organised dialogues in Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia on 17 - 24 October for local customs authorities to share expertise on IP enforcement practices and border control measures with EU experts. The activity aimed to further intensify the level of coordination and engagement of local law enforcement authorities in curtailing trade in IPR infringing goods.

Topics discussed included local legal and institutional frameworks and issues for IP enforcement, the experiences of rightsholders in coordinating with customs authorities, initiatives and practices on IP enforcement in the EU, current trends and modi operandi in the trade of pirated and counterfeit goods, and the latest tools and methods for identifying and tracking them.

At the kickoff event in Ho Chi Minh City, IP Key SEA Project Leader Ignacio de Medrano Caballero acknowledged the importance of customs authorities in enforcing IP rights by curtailing trade in counterfeit goods and pirated materials. Nguyen Thanh Binh, Director of the Researching, Training, Consulting and Supporting Center at IP Viet Nam highlighted the importance of IP rights in contributing to economic development in the country, and in fulfilling the country’s international obligations to provide for the effective enforcement of such rights. He lauded the strong partnership and cooperation with the European Union in the further development of domestic IP enforcement practices.

At the Bangkok event, Counsellor Isabelle De Stobbeleir, Economic and Trade Section of the Delegation of the EU to Thailand, highlighted the close collaboration between the EU and Thailand to support local customs authorities in enforcing IP rights at the border. Decha Wichaidit, Director of Investigation and Suppression Division 3 of the Thai Customs Department explained the local enforcement regime and practices in Thailand, including initiatives such as the IPR Coordination Center.

In Jakarta, Levente Albert, Deputy Head of Trade Section of the Delegation of the EU to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, highlighted the critical role of customs authorities in enforcing IP rights at the borders. Commending Indonesia’s passage of regulations on controlling the import and export of goods resulting from IPR infringement, Mr. Albert also assured the Indonesian authorities of the EU’s continued support for the country’s efforts to enhance the national IP system.

At the final exchange in Kuala Lumpur, Antonio Lloret of the Customs and Excise Department of the Spanish Central Tax Authority shared his expertise on the current issues and trends on IPR border control measures and customs enforcement. He emphasized the importance of enhancing the capacities of customs officers in detecting IPR infringement, with the critical support of risk analysis mechanisms and cooperation from the rights holders themselves.

Participants at the events were eager to share their everyday experience with transactions they had intercepted, as well as their insights on customs risk analysis.

Infringing items, such as counterfeit goods and pirated materials, are a significant issue in the region as their presence curtails trade in legitimate products, disincentivises research and development, poses a health risk to consumers and ultimately impedes economic development.  IP Key SEA supports the more effective enforcement of IP rights at both a local and regional level in order to help address these issues.

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