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U.S., China Announce Results of First Joint Intellectual Property Operation

Release Date: 
July 31, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the General Administration of Customs, People's Republic of China (GACC) today announce the results of a joint intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement operation, the first ever of its kind between the two customs agencies. The month-long operation resulted in the seizure of over 243,000 counterfeit consumer electronics products including popular trademarks such as Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, Blackberry, Samsung, Sony, and UL.

"The theft of intellectual property is a global problem and cross-border efforts are needed to fight it. CBP looks forward to a continued partnership with the People's Republic of China General Administration of Customs in confronting this critical trade issue," said CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski. "Robust enforcement of intellectual property rights allows innovators and creators - whether in a small start-up or an international corporation - to profit from their efforts, and gives consumers confidence in the products they buy."

"The success of this joint operation fully proves that earnest and effective cooperation cross the border is needed to curb the movement of counterfeit products", said Zou Zhiwu, Vice Minister of the General Administration of China Customs (GACC). "IPR infringement is a global issue involving not only the process of production and export, but also that of import and circulation. It not only harms the order of global trade, but also threatens the health and safety of consumers. Enforcement agencies around the world should work more closely to crack down these illegal activities. China Customs has been making unremitting efforts to promote international cooperation in this field. The results of this joint operation are very inspiring and have consolidated our confidence and resolve to jointly fight against IPR violations under the framework of Memorandum of Cooperation on Strengthened Cooperation in Border Protection Enforcement of IPR between GACC and CBP."

"The fight against criminal counterfeiters overseas presents a great deal of challenges to U.S. law enforcement," said Daniel Ragsdale, Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement "But it is a fight we are committed to and, through the international partnerships we forge with foreign customs and law enforcement agencies, we are making an impact. We will find, arrest, and prosecute these criminals whenever possible to keep them from taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers."

The operation also resulted in an arrest by local law enforcement in the New Orleans area of a U.S. citizen who repeatedly imported counterfeit Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, which he then sold on Craigslist. The arrest followed a GACC referral of information to CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, which coordinated with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office on the arrest.

The operation fulfilled a commitment between CBP and GACC to cooperatively produce tangible IPR enforcement results by the Fifth Strategic & Economic Dialogue. At the S&ED last week, CBP and GACC committed to further cooperation on IPR enforcement, including additional joint operations.