Riyadh Saudi Arabia King Fahd National Library

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Customs on Sunday destroyed more than two million counterfeit goods seized at land, sea and air ports in cooperation with customs partners in intellectual property protection.

The counterfeit and adulterated products that were destroyed included footwear, clothes, mobile phones accessories, sanitary ware and car filters, all of which were carrying well-known brands from major international companies.

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods has risen steadily in the last few years — even as overall trade volumes stagnated — and now stands at 3.3 per cent of global trade, according to a new report by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office.

Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide based on 2016 customs seizure data at $509 billion, up from $461 billion in 2013 (2.5 per cent of world trade).

For the European Union, counterfeit trade represented 6.8 per cent of imports from non-EU countries, up from 5 per cent in 2013. These figures do not include domestically produced and consumed fake goods, or pirated products being distributed via the Internet.

Saudi Customs reiterated trade in fake goods, which infringe on trademarks and copyright, creates profits for organised crime gangs at the expense of companies and the government.

Fakes of items like medical supplies, car parts, toys, food and cosmetics brands and electrical goods carry a range of health and safety risks. Examples include ineffective prescription drugs, unsafe dental filling materials, fire hazards from poorly wired electronic goods and sub-standard chemicals in lipsticks and baby formula.

Saudi authorities have intensified crackdown on counterfeit products, stressing that counterfeit trade does not only take away revenues from firms and the government to feed other criminal activities, but also jeopardise consumers’ health and safety, the customs said in a statement.

Saudi Customs confirmed that it was keen to implement the destruction process in cooperation with a company specializing in this field, in an effort to protect the environment.

It also affirmed that it is constantly striving to keep pace with the Kingdom’s interest in, support and sponsorship of intellectual property, and to advance it in accordance with international best practices, and to protect rights of creators and innovators, stressing that it continues, through all its customs outlets, to work to enforce laws, and to support the efforts exerted to ensure intellectual property protection is best achieved and violators are confronted.

Saudi Customs has worked to develop customs procedures and automated systems to tighten import control to reduce the commercial fraud and counterfeiting, the statement said.