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VP Tajani in Germany: “Fake products have a high price for all citizens”

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Counterfeiting is a serious threat to our economies. In a context of economic crisis, we must defend our business and firmly fight against counterfeiting for a decent, moral and fair society.

In the framework of the EU stop fakes campaign, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, promotes the EU stop fakes campaign in Germany and calls for more cooperation in the fight against counterfeits.

The campaign is intended to engage the cooperation of citizens in the fight against counterfeit goods and also raise awareness of health and security risks from fake goods, the harm they do to legitimate enterprises and the resultant increase in unemployment.

Vice President Tajani will present the EU stop fakes campaign today to German media in Koln, at the headquarters of the German federal customs investigation office (Zolkriminalamt ZKA), together with Werner Gatzer, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Volker Bartels, President of the action group against product and brand piracy (Aktionskreises gegen Produkt und Markenpiraterie – APM – a subsidiary of the German Federal Chamber of Industry) and Nobert Drude, President of the ZKA, Cologne as well as Julian Würtenberger, Head of the customs directorate general of the Ministry of Finance.

Vice President Tajani has already recently presented this campaign in other Member States in which counterfeit is a significant problem, such as Bulgaria and Italy. At all of these events, Vice-President Tajani received the highest support of national authorities and media (e.g. the Bulgarian Club of Journalists against Corruption) for this campaign.

National law enforcement authorities play a key role in preventing the entry of counterfeit goods to the European Union, with the support and cooperation of EU bodies such as EUROPOL and OLAF.  The European Commission (which incorporates the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy) and EU Member States, together with producers and trade and consumers associations, are working hard to better enforce the rules which protect citizens and business against goods and products which do not meet safety standards.

"Counterfeiting is a serious threat to our economies. In a context of economic crisis, we must defend our business and firmly fight against counterfeiting for a decent, moral and fair society." said Vice President Tajani at the joint press conference in Cologne today, "When European and national authorities work together we become stronger. The German authorities are very supportive in the fight against counterfeiting and we extend a warm hand of friendship to the German Zollkriminalamt."

EU stop fakes campaign

The "EU Stop Fakes" campaign aims to promote closer cooperation between the European Commission, national authorities and trade associations to stop the production and circulation of counterfeit goods. Most importantly, it aims to make consumers aware of the damage counterfeiting does and remind them that they have the power to combat this activity through their own actions and choices. Vice President Tajani underlined the central role that the press can play in bringing this message to the attention of the public. 

This anti-counterfeiting campaign is promoted by the European Commission, notably by Vice-President Tajani and Commissioner Barnier, with the support of national authorities.

From 23 to 24 April 2013, a representative of the European Commission Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry was in Rome to present the campaign to the press and communication officers of customs and police authorities of the 28 Members States, during the 12th OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators Network (OAFCN) seminar in Rome, co-organised by OLAF and Guardia di Finanza.

Counterfeiting costs

Apart from harming our domestic companies, fake goods can also pose a risk to consumer health as their production is not governed by the EU's health and safety laws. Counterfeiters also avoid paying taxes or duties, thus curtailing state revenues and passing on the bill to European taxpayers.

In 2011 German customs prevented a total of €82.6 million in counterfeit goods from being released into circulation (€95.8 million in 2010), out of which approximately 75% originated in China and Hong Kong. The most frequently smuggled goods were personal accessories such as handbags, sunglasses, watches and jewellery as well as shoes (in particular sport shoes) and clothing.
More information on fake goods seized by German customs, such as countries of origin of counterfeited goods, products concerned and action against import of fake goods can be found on the site of Deutscher Zoll.

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