WASHINGTON — U.S. and Chinese customs officials agreed to step up their joint enforcement and tracking of counterfeit products and other intellectual property violations.
The move, which came in the form of an addendum to a prior agreement, was revealed during the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue, high-level diplomatic talks being held here this week.
Bruce Foucart, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and Chen Xudong, director general of the General Administration of China Customs signed the addendum, expanding on an intellectual property rights memorandum of understanding the countries drafted in 2011 to collaborate on combating intellectual property rights violations.
“International collaborative law enforcement efforts are critical tools in preventing the importation and exportation of illegally trafficked goods that present threats to national security,” Foucart said. “Through this partnership with Chinese customs officials, we’ll be able to exchange ideas and implement best practices that could ultimately lead to the dismantling of transnational criminal organizations.”
China continued to be the number-one source of counterfeit and pirated goods shipped to the U.S. during the last fiscal year, accounting for 63 percent, or $772 million of the total $1.2 billion seized by U.S. officials, according to the latest U.S. government data. Federal officials made 7,922 seizures of counterfeit apparel and accessories, valued at $113.6 million, in 2014.
As part of the agreement, the U.S. and China will combat trademark infringement and other piracy by tracking violations, sharing information and monitoring illicit imports, exports and trafficking of counterfeit merchandise. The two countries have agreed to share seizure information, including commodity descriptions, quantities, values, dates of import and export, known manufacturers and shippers, container numbers and other pertinent information.
Enforcement agencies in both countries will also conduct joint training operations targeting counterfeit products that “pose a health and safety risk” and increase the number of visits to each country’s ports. In addition, the IPR Center will share its curriculum and training guide with the China’s customs administration, which focuses on how to successfully target intellectual property theft.
The addendum codifies the commitment to conduct joint enforcement efforts, although both countries have worked together in the past to conduct several outbound inspection operations targeting counterfeit apparel and pharmaceuticals, which have led to the seizure of more than 1,000 shipments, the arrests of two individuals and other leads, according to U.S. officials.