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BRUSSELS: December 15, 2016. For the first time major global brands and logistics companies have made a collective public declaration to stop the transport of counterfeit goods.

In 2013 this amounted to US$461 billion according to a recent OECD/EU Intellectual Property Office report.

Transport operators counterfeit agreementInitiated by the International Chamber of Commerce's Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), the voluntary agreement acknowledges the "destructive impact" of counterfeits on international trade and calls on the maritime transport industry to address it "through continuous proactive measures, and corporate social responsibility principles".

The first logistics signatories are CMA-CGM, Expeditors, Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Kuehne + Nagel and FIATA, together with representatives from Bayer, Chanel, CropLife, Dupont, Lacoste, P&G, Pfizer, PMI, Richemont and Unilever (pictured).

The group says it has adopted a zero tolerance policy on counterfeiting, strict supply chain controls, and other due diligence checks to stop business cooperation with counterfeit criminals.

"This declaration demonstrates the commitment of vessel owners, transport service providers and brand owners to work together to eliminate counterfeits from maritime trade routes," said Jeffrey Hardy, BASCAP director. "This commitment paves the way for new voluntary collaboration programmes between intermediaries and brand owners to stop abuse of the global supply chain by counterfeiters," he continued.

According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), about 90 percent of all international trade travels in more than 500 million containers on 89,000 maritime vessels.

UNODC says that with less than 2.0 percent of containers inspected to verify their contents, this presents an opportunity for criminals to transport huge volumes of counterfeit products.

Commenting on the agreement, Unilever Global Brand Protection director Meena Sayal (bottom right of picture) said the major brands are "extremely pleased" by the cooperative and collaborative response from the transport industry: "BASCAP member companies, including Unilever, have been frustrated in seeing that the same transport companies that we use to ship our products around the world are being abused by criminals to distribute fake versions of our products.

"We recognize this is a new and complicated issue for many in the transport industry, but appreciate the unanimous recognition that there is a problem and more can be done to solve it," she added.

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