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China, US Customs to Swap IPR Data
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To help them better select targets for IPR enforcement and evaluate achievements, Chinese and US customs officials will every six months exchange statistics concerning seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods originating in or destined for the other side, Mu Xinsheng, minister of the General Administration of Customs (GAC), said in an interview yesterday.

The statistics will include the number of seizures, quantity and value of goods, transportation type and the main ports of transit used.

To help track down IPR violators and improve law enforcement, each side may also ask the other to provide information on up to 10 specific IPR-related seizures each quarter, the minister said.

Measures aimed at increasing visits to each other's ports and respective offices and encouraging exchanges of IPR enforcement experiences among customs officers are also on the cards.

Mu said all the new measures are included in the Memorandum on Strengthened Cooperation in Border IPR Enforcement between the GAC and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which was signed on May 22.

He said the US has regularly criticized China for its failure to prevent IPR infringements at its borders in recent years, while refusing to provide enough information about seizures of pirated products.

"The new agreement will lead to more effective and efficient IPR enforcement in both countries," the minister said.

Mu said piracy and counterfeiting are global problems that no country can solve on its own.

"Instead of criticism and confrontation, communication and cooperation are better ways to resolve disputes," he said.

The minister said China has made progress in preventing IPR infringements at its borders and that the agreement offers Chinese customs officers a chance to learn from their US counterparts. Having access to more information about seizures could help Chinese customs identify pirated goods.

To better implement the agreement, the GAC and CBP have decided to open new channels of communication. Each side will create a point of contact, about which it will inform the other side in writing, according to the GAC.

Official figures show that Chinese customs uncovered 2,473 IPR infringement cases last year, or double the amount in 2005. More than 200 million pirated or counterfeit goods were seized during the period.

Meanwhile, China and the US will today kick off a four-day talks on the complaints Washington filed with the World Trade Organization. The two sides will also touch on issues such as opening the Chinese market to publications.

The US filed formal complaints over copyright piracy and restrictions on the sale of US movies, music and books in China in April.

(China Daily June 5, 2007)

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