March 26, 2018

EUIPO – OECD study on trade in counterfeit goods and free trade zones

A new study undertaken jointly by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) highlights the correlation between the number and size of Free Trade Zones and the value of counterfeit goods.

Although the Free Trade Zones were set up to avoid customs formalities for those goods that were only in transit to third countries, these zones have ended up becoming a claim to attract foreign investments due to their flexibility and laxness in regulatory, immigration and labor issues. In addition, when these zones are operated by private agents seeking to maximize their occupation, control by the local competent authorities is relaxed, which favors the use of these areas by groups involved in illegal or criminal activities such as the laundering of money or trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.

The study recommends the deployment of actions aimed at preventing Free Trade Zones from being weakened by this type of practices through coordination, both nationally and internationally, among organizations such as the OECD, EUIPO, the European Anti-Fraud Office, the WTO, the International Association of Chambers of Commerce or INTA.

The full report can be found at link.