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ICC said today it will challenge global leaders gathering at a major congress to identify concrete solutions to the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy

ICC said today it will challenge global leaders gathering at a major congress to identify concrete solutions to the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy, which has been exacerbated by the current economic crisis and is estimated to cost the global economy US$750 billion annually.

More than 60 international leaders and 500 delegates from 20 countries will meet in Cancun, Mexico on 1-3 December for the Fifth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting & Piracy, the first to be held in the Americas.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that more than $200 billion in tangible counterfeit and pirated goods flow through international trade channels each year. In addition, law enforcement groups and others such as ICC have estimated that the overall cost of counterfeiting and piracy may be as high as US$750 billion a year when other losses to the economy are included.

These include domestically produced and consumed counterfeits, fake products distributed through the Internet, reduced foreign investment and technology transfers, and losses to broader society including increased government spending for health care and law enforcement. “While there are many competing priorities for limited government and private sector resources in today’s difficult economic environment, this is not the time to back off on efforts to deal with the growing threat to society posed by counterfeit and pirated goods,” said ICC Secretary General Jean Rozwadowski. “The Congress provides a unique opportunity for the public and private sectors to come together to find solutions, and we look forward to being a part of this dialogue.”

ICC will participate in the Congress through its Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative, which was launched by the world business organization to connect and mobilize businesses across industries, sectors and national borders in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

The Congress is being co-hosted by Interpol and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), the administrative government authority in charge of industrial property matters in Mexico. In addition to Interpol, the Congress is being convened by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), representing the public sector; and ICC BASCAP, the International Trademark Association (INTA), and the International Security Management Association (ISMA), representing the private sector “The global economic crisis has placed even greater pressure on both public and private sector efforts to maintain the collective fight against counterfeiting and piracy,” said Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, who will be a featured speaker at the Congress. “At the same time, the criminals who are involved in this illegal trade in fakes are intensifying their efforts to grow their businesses, maximize illicit profits, and build even stronger transnational organized crime networks which harm citizens and economies in all countries.”

Counterfeiting has moved far beyond the luxury goods market to areas including medicines and spare parts for automobiles, airplanes and sophisticated machinery that put people’s lives in danger.

“The social and economic losses associated with these illegal activities, such as the loss of jobs and tax revenues, constitute a critical concern for governments across the globe,” said IMPI Director General Jorge Amigo Castaneda. “Thus, we believe that international co-operation is essential to ensure that adequate border measures are enacted to deal with this very delicate situation that threatens every nation and its citizens.”

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