Dubai has destroyed more than 300 tonnes of imports in its war on counterfeit goods during 2007, according to director-general of Dubai Customs.
Ahmed Butti Ahmed (pictured above) told Emirates Business that the impact fake products entering Dubai had on trade posed a major challenge to his department.
“Last year we destroyed more than 300 tonnes of these goods. It’s harming everybody, and harming the economy,” he said on the sidelines of the Fourth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy conference.
“Dubai Customs is fighting this by using all kinds of procedures and applying the rule of law to stop these things, and paralyse these people. These things will continue to grow, but you have to limit it and always fight it. You must not sit back, you must narrow the path for these goods.”
Ahmed said although counterfeit brands in Dubai made up a small percentage compared to genuine products on sale in shopping malls in the emirate, it was still a concern for retailers.
“The fake goods, which even though they are a small percentage, are bothering people. But we are fighting this. The goods that are not legally displayed or that are hidden somehow, like the sale of counterfeit drugs, for example, goes for any country. People are fighting this around the world. And we are waging a war against it,” he added.
The counterfeit conference was in part organised by the World Customs Organisation, the International Criminal Police Organisation, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce through its Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy initiative, the International Trademark Association, and the International Security Management Association.
The Global Congress attracted 1,300 delegates representing 88 countries from around the world.
Ahmed said the high turnout indicated that delegates believed Dubai was doing all it could to fight the rise in counterfeit goods.
He denied that foreign investment in the region would be affected by the existence of counterfeit products and added: “It doesn’t have an impact on how people see Dubai, because it is a very small percentage and we are taking acting against the people involved in trade of fake goods.”
Dubai Customs recently signed memoranda of understanding with a number of key supply-chain partners, including Dnata, Danzas AEI Emirates, Al Tayer Logistics and Emirates Sky Cargo, to use electronic commerce to achieve paperless trading.
Ahmed said persuading companies to adopt the technology was a crucial challenge for his department in 2008. “We want to employ latest available technology and to educate the people to accept and digest the electronic procedures. People still come and they want to do this manually because psychologically they feel that if they don’t come then they don’t feel as if things have been done.”
He said: “A challenge that we face is how we can force the stakeholders to process their documents with Dubai Customs online.”
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