BIFA urges caution over counterfeit goods

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The British International Freight Association has urged members to ensure that their procedures, when accepting consignments for shipment, are as tight as possible in the face of a growing trade in fake products.

The European Commission recently published statistics showing that EC Customs detained almost 115 million items that were suspected of violating intellectual property rights (IPR) in 2011, up on 2010’s figure of 103 million.

BIFA director general Peter Quantrill said: “It is thought that the ongoing recession is fuelling the trade in fake products.

“While freight forwarders, acting as an intermediary, must act in good faith when accepting consignments for shipment, they must also exercise reasonable diligence.”

The commission statistics showed that 73 per cent of all IPR–infringing goods originated in China, and 26.6 per cent of all detentions were of products which could be dangerous to the health and safety of the consumer.

Quantrill said: “Previously we have highlighted our opposition to European Commission proposals to make the carrier (which would include consolidators, such as our members) responsible for the costs of disposing of counterfeit goods that infringe IPR.

“A carrier should not be held responsible for the actions of another party over whom it has either limited or no control. Furthermore, we believe it is the owner of the copyright or brand, which benefits from the destruction of the IPR-infringing items.”

“But while the area of who bears the cost for destroying such goods remains undecided, our members need to be doubly vigilant.”

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