Sunday, 8 June 2008

Six African countries get a grip on Vice

Internet Business Law Services reports that the World Customs Organization has launched Operation "Vice Grips" to give effect to its determination to take concrete action against counterfeiting and piracy. Aided by six concerned countries -- Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Senegal -- this voluntary operation seeks to conduct simultaneous inspections of imported consignments that may potentially contain counterfeit and pirated goods.

Initially this operation is scheduled to last just one week, but with thorough controls being conducted at the following ports: Damietta (Egypt); Thema (Ghana); Casablanca (Morocco), Lagos (Nigeria), Tunis (Tunisia) and Dakar (Senegal). Operational teams led by national Customs experts from participating countries, supported by WCO intellectual property rights specialists, are targeting fake pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, spare parts, cigarettes, everyday consumer goods, fabrics, CDs, and DVDs. The results of these simultaneous operations will be collated in Dakar, Senegal where the headquarters of the Operational Co-ordinating Unit is located.

The primary objective of Operation "Vice Grips" is not so much to catch the villains this time round, as to build the capacity of national Customs authorities. There will also be an opportunity to quantify and qualify the scope of fraudulent trade, to identify new fraud routes and places of concealment and to unearth new fraud techniques. Operation "Vice Grips" will eventually be extended to other ports in Africa.

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