ICCE members to support frontline customs officers in Egypt’s battle against counterfeiters.

Anti-counterfeiting experts are running training days for customs officials in Egypt, which joined the top ten countries of origin for counterfeit goods in 2013, according to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

Representatives from ICCE, the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East & Africa, are supporting events being held for the Egyptian Customs Authority in the port cities of Alexandria and Port Said on 3rd and 4th February, 2019. ICCE works with national enforcement agencies to tackle the problem of counterfeiting across the EMEA region.

Epson is one of nine ICCE members and its manager of anti-counterfeiting in EMEA and Russia, Bodo Bredahl, will be at the event.

Mr Bredahl explained the purpose of the training: “We have seen improvements in anti-counterfeiting enforcement over the past ten years in Egypt and we’re getting a lot of support from the authorities, but the country still suffers from a big threat of counterfeit products in the market.”

Bespoke training for frontline law enforcement in Egypt

The training is being tailored for the needs of 50 frontline customs officials and is aimed at helping them to spot fake goods shipments at ports of entry and take the appropriate action. Anti-counterfeiting experts from a range of well-known Japanese manufacturers will attend the training which will include:

  • An update on products currently being counterfeited
  • Exploring authorised supply chains for genuine products, including official ports of entry, packaging and labelling, so that officers can spot discrepancies
  • Using technology and security features to read and verify genuine brand security labelling
  • Initial actions to be taken on finding a suspicious shipment in order to support an investigation
  • Discussions with senior officers to exchange ideas and best practices

The event is being hosted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), which promotes Japanese economic interests and IP security abroad. The organisation has run similar training packages across the region, including Turkey and the UAE.

Customs officials in Egypt face a particularly difficult challenge once goods have penetrated the country because of the huge numbers of small scale trading shops that are a mainstay of local employment and economy.

“Customs officers are the eyes on the ground,” said Mr Bredahl. “They are in the unique situation of having visibility of a container when it arrives in the country in its original packaging and before it gets broken down and distributed in smaller packets to trading shops throughout the country, which makes them far more difficult to find.”

“These officers can utilise the knowledge we provide them to help identify suspicious consignments.”

Protecting Egyptian consumers

Egypt is used as a transit point for counterfeit goods but counterfeits are also destined for the domestic market where they damage local premium brands such as fashion accessories and leather ware.

Counterfeit imaging supplies are sold as genuine products in Egypt, usually at a small discount, so that consumers believe they are getting the real deal but in fact are running the risk of damaging their equipment or even their health.

Mr Bredahl explained: “We are collaborating with the Egyptian enforcement agencies in order to protect consumers from being deceived into buying counterfeit product.”