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Senior decision makers from governments, law enforcement, customs agencies and the private sector represented by ICC are gathering in Cancun to identify solutions to the worldwide trade in illegal products that is posing an increasingly dangerous threat both to people’s health and the global economy.

More than 500 delegates from nearly 30 countries are attending the Fifth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting from 1 to 3 December hosted by INTERPOL and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property to share proposals in reducing the impact of fake goods and identify and build upon successful strategies already in place.

The Congress is supported by the World Customs Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the co-operation of the world’s business community represented by ICC through its Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative, the International Trademark Association and the International Security Management Association.

BASCAP will deliver a report to delegates presenting new economic data on the real costs of counterfeiting in terms of reduced investment, tax losses, and increased spending on health and law enforcement.

“While governments and businesses around the world are dealing with very difficult economic issues, we can’t lose sight of the fact that counterfeiting and piracy is costing all of us billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and exposing consumers to real health and safety risks,” said David Benjamin, a member of BASCAP and Senior Vice President for Anti-Piracy, Universal Music.

“This is not the time to look away, and this Congress can help to focus governments on the necessity to upgrade enforcement measures against intellectual property theft,” Mr Benjamin added.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said the threat posed to the health and safety of individuals and the potential damage to economies should not be underestimated, adding that recent joint initiatives showed that there is the will and ability to take the fight to the criminals.

“Recent successful operations such as Operation Pangea II tackling the online sale of counterfeit and illicit drugs have shown that co-coordinated action between the public and private sectors does have results, but more importantly it shows that we are taking the fight to the counterfeiters,” said Mr Noble.

“We are tackling this crime in both the real and virtual worlds and INTERPOL will continue to work to ensure that criminals involved in this type of activity can find no safe hiding place,” he added.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said the organization had “adopted an inclusive, development-oriented approach to the shared endeavor of building respect for intellectual property which will enable the international community to better calibrate their collaborative efforts.”

“The tough economic conditions confronting governments, businesses and citizens around the world, at a time when the trade in fake goods continues to escalate, put into sharp relief the need to find practical, realistic and effective solutions to reduce the negative impact of counterfeiting and piracy and to promote greater respect for intellectual property rights around the world,” Mr Gurry concluded.

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