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ICC Secretary General Guy Sebban today called on business and governments to work together in a serious long-term effort to stop product counterfeiting and piracy. Mr Sebban was addressing the Second Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, convened by Interpol and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

He spoke alongside Ronald Noble, Secretary General, Interpol, Michel Danet, Secretary General, WCO and Rita Hayes, Deputy Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization in the opening plenary session of the two-day event.

Mr Sebban said counterfeiting and piracy had to be seen as an economic problem. “This is because intellectual property is an essential capital input that is just as important to business as concrete or steel.”

The costs of counterfeiting and piracy were not just economic, Mr Sebban said. “They include dramatic social and developmental costs.” They lead to widespread loss of lawful employment, which, he said, was not just a problem for business: “The manufacture of fake goods strips jobs from the economy, and employees have no reliable income upon which to build a career or support their families. Employees have no benefits and no security.”

Mr Sebban added that counterfeiting and piracy also lead to massive losses of tax revenues to governments.

Calling on governments to take action against counterfeiting and piracy, Mr Sebban said: “It is imperative that governments recognize that counterfeiting and piracy are not good for governments, not good for society and not good for development.”

Mr Sebban briefly outlined ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) initiative which he said was committed to working with governments in whatever possible way to combat the scourge.

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