Poor co-ordination stymies fight against fake goods

patent-trademark-news-DUYTHO.jpgA lack of international cooperation is hampering the effort to detect fake goods in Southeast Asia, many delegates attending a three-day regional seminar in Hanoi have complained.

Typical was a Vietnam Customs officer who said that his fellow officers – particularly at border posts – received little information from the regional countries.

“We encourage producers to provide the characteristics and technical specifications of goods so that custom officials can identify fake goods,” he said.

A Lao representative said: “A co-operation agreement is essential but without it, we need to exchange office-to-office information in the regional countries.”

“It will be the first step before signing any agreement.”

Seminar participants worried about the lack of an official agreement for the providing of information.

They agreed also about the importance of training personnel to improve their ability to detect fake goods, carry out investigations and co-ordinate between government agencies.

The three-day seminar, supported by French Embassy in Vietnam, was titled, “Challenges and Opportunities in the Fight against Fake Goods,” and attended by delegates from Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

Trade Ministry Market Management Department director Nguyen Duc Thinh said Vietnam recognised the fight against fake goods was global and that victory required efforts from producers, enterprises and countries.

“It meant that tight, effective co-operation between regional countries and international assistance was required,” said Mr Thinh, who is also Central Steering Committee 127 general secretary.

The committee specialises in eliminating fake goods and trade fraud.

“Vietnam has bilateral agreements with many countries and was preparing to enter the World Trade Organisation,” he said.

“When we enter the organisation, we hope to sign multilateral agreements for intellectual property and these will require more detail.”

Mr Thinh said that his office, together with the Intellectual Property and Copyright departments had signed a Memorandum of Understanding dealing with copyright violations with the Thai Department of Intellectual Property.

Many bilateral agreements for co-operation between jurisdictions, including extradition, had been signed by Justice Minister Uong Chu Luu for Vietnam.

Interpol Vietnam was part of the fight against international criminals dealing in fake goods and counterfeit money, he said.

However, many ministries, agencies and industries were involved and State funds in developing countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are limited, so financial and technological support from international organisations was needed.

French police, customs and justice officers shared their experiences and discussed how to boost international co-operation at the seminar.

French detective Valeri Maldonado said co-operation between the countries in which the fake goods were made, transited and consumed was required to identify their makers and expose international syndicates.

But investigation was difficult because each country had its own system of law and this made it difficult for international police to trace criminals.

Co-operation between enterprises was a necessity because it helped ensure that trademarks were genuine.

About 50 of fake goods detected by the French police last year were made outside of France, she said.

Training customs

French International Co-operation Service representative Thierry Ferre said a training course for Vietnam’s customs officials would be held immediately after the seminar ended.

Courses to discuss the economic polices of Vietnam and France were expected next year.

The French representative said co-operation between Vietnam and France had provided good results but Vietnam should amend its laws in accordance with international practise to enhance co-operation in the fight against fake goods.

Gregoire Chaiviere Le Drian, who helps oversee projects in Vietnam for the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry, said funding is provided each year for the long-term training of personnel to detect fake goods and trade fraud in both Vietnam and France.

Short courses would be organised next year, he said.

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