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June 23, 2015Washington, DC, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

US, China unite to fight intellectual property theft

WASHINGTON – Representatives from U.S. and Chinese customs agencies strengthened relations Tuesday by signing an agreement to work together to combat violators of intellectual property rights law.

Bruce Foucart, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), and Chen Xudong, director general of the General Administration of China Customs (GACC), signed an IPR addendum, which expanded on a memorandum of understanding the countries drafted in 2011 to collaborate on the enforcement of customs law. The original memorandum sought to enhance prosecutions and convictions and protect the economic, fiscal and commercial interests of each country.

“International collaborative law enforcement efforts are critical tools in preventing the importation and exportation of illegally trafficked goods that present threats to national security,” Foucart said. “Through this partnership with Chinese customs officials, we’ll be able to exchange ideas and implement best practices that could ultimately lead to the dismantling of transnational criminal organizations.”

This agreement will help both China and the U.S. combat IPR infringement by tracking IPR violations, sharing information and monitoring the illicit importation, exportation, or trafficking of counterfeit trademarked merchandise.

The two countries will share seizure information like commodity descriptions; quantities; values; dates of import/export; infringed trademarks; known manufacturers and shippers; container numbers; and other available information.

The U.S. and China are also set to conduct joint training operations targeting counterfeit products sent between the two countries that pose a health and safety risk. Representatives will increase the number of visits to each country’s ports; extend invitations to scheduled seminars related to IPR enforcement; and issue an IPR Center-developed curriculum and training guide for the GACC that focuses on how to successfully target intellectual property theft.

Although this addendum codifies the intent to conduct joint enforcement efforts going forward, the HSI offices in Beijing have successfully teamed with the GACC to conduct several outbound inspection operations targeting the illegal trafficking of counterfeit apparel and pharmaceuticals. These inspections have led to the seizure of more than 1,000 shipments, the arrests of two individuals and countless investigative leads.

Founded in 2000, the IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The center uses the expertise of its 23 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.