Brand owners and representatives from the international shipping industry have joined forces in signing a declaration of intent to prevent the maritime transport of counterfeit goods.
The “Declaration of Intent to Prevent the Maritime Transport of Counterfeit Goods” was signed on Friday,
November 30 in Brussels by leaders from global shipping firms, freight forwarders, brand owners and representatives from industry organizations in a meeting organized by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
“Initial signatories include the leading global shipping firms and freight forwarders and ten major multinational brand manufacturers, along with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), and the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and Commercial Crime Service (CCS). More transporters, brand owners and their industry associations are expected to join the voluntary initiative as awareness grows,” the ICC said in a statement.
The Declaration, which is non-binding, acknowledges the “destructive impact of counterfeits on international trade.” In the agreement the maritime transport industry commits to address the problem “through continuous proactive measures, and corporate social responsibility principles.” The Declaration includes, among other provisions, a commitment to “stop business cooperation with those suspected of dealing in the counterfeit trade.”
According to statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), about 90 percent of all international trade moves by sea, accounting for more than 500 million containers on 89,000 vessels. Less than percent of these containers are inspected to verify their contents, the UNODC said, resulting in vast opportunities for criminal networks to use the maritime supply chain to move counterfeit goods. A 2013 report from the OECD said that approximately $461 billion in counterfeit goods were traded internationally per year, with at least 10 percent of that being carried on container ships.
“We are proud to be among the first in our industry to sign this historic Declaration,” Michael Jul Hansen, Customs and Trade Compliance Lead for Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping line, said in a statement on the company’s website. “Maersk has been a leader in taking steps to prevent the use of our vessels for the shipment of counterfeit and other illicit goods, and this Declaration is a reaffirmation of our intent to do everything we can to ensure our ships are counterfeit free.”
In a separate statement, FIATA President Huaxiang Zhao said, “In my role as President of FIATA I am pleased to register the ICC/BASCAP initiative to counter intellectual property rights infringements. FIATA is an association aiming to disseminate best practice and compliance all over the world; we have training programs and services that are aimed at assisting our members in their compliance efforts, as well as in situations when they become unwitting targets of organizations that aim to exploit their services with untoward intentions. FIATA members are fully committed to better trade and this initiative perfectly fits our efforts in this direction.”
The Declaration was developed as a result of a report, “The Role and Responsibilities of Intermediaries: Fighting Counterfeiting and Piracy in the Supply Chain,” produced in 2015 by BASCAP that highlighted how complex global supply chains have been infiltrated by criminal operations, allowing the movement of counterfeit and pirated goods.