Media Release: ICCE position paper on the US-UK Trade Agreement 


LONDON, 6 JULY 2020:  The Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE) today calls for a future US-UK Free Trade Agreement to include specific measures to protect consumers and manufacturers from illegal counterfeit imaging supplies.   

The imaging consumables industry is currently threatened by a €1.6 billion black market in counterfeit imaging supplies which can be dangerous, environmentally unfriendly and which cheat consumers of the quality they expect from branded consumables.  The supply of counterfeit imaging consumables also threatens the jobs and livelihoods of workers across the UK and US.    

It is therefore vital that any post-COVID-19 FTA appropriately recognises the risk that counterfeit imaging supplies, and other dangerous or substandard imaging supplies, pose to original imaging supplies manufacturers (OEMs) and their consumers.   

Recognising the importance of IP law and e-commerce rules in any future U.S.-UK trade relationship, ICCE welcomes the UK’s objective to “secure provisions that promote the transparent and efficient administration and enforcement of IP rights, and facilitate cross-border collaboration on IP matters”[1]. 

As the United States and United Kingdom transition from discussions under the US-UK Trade and Investment Working Group to the initiation of formal trade negotiationsICCE today highlights the importance of improving anti-counterfeit measures in the UK and the US to meet the needs of consumers and business. A full position paper has been published by ICCE on its website. 

Amongst the proposals, ICCE calls for greater cross-border cooperation between the US and UK authorities in tackling the trade of counterfeits entering into the US-UK region as well as tackling traders located in the UK or US which seek to take advantage of an FTA to distribute counterfeit goods more widely.    

It is in neither country’s interest for counterfeits or illicit goods to enter local markets, either through high street shops or online.  

ICCE also calls for increasing obligations on ISPs to make greater efforts to reduce the prevalence of counterfeit and dangerous goods being traded online.   

Post COVID-19, consumers and businesses must have confidence in the online environment.  The trade in counterfeit and dangerous goods online through platforms and websites undermines consumer confidence in e-commerce as a whole and harms economic growth.  In this regard, ICCE welcomes the consideration of the SHOP SAFE ACT 2020 currently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in the US.   

ICCE would like to see similar measures adopted in the UK and in any event, no dilution of the obligations requiring ISPs to remove infringing content in order to claim the defences provided by Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (implementing the E-Commerce Directive).  Improvements to the current UK legislative framework could require: 

  • ISPs to take actions against those who use and abuse their services to sell counterfeit or dubious consumable products online; 
  • Obligations on ISPs to have established Know Your Customers (KYC) mechanisms requiring ISPs to hold a minimum requirement of information on their customer in order to assist law enforcement authorities and aggrieved civil parties. 

Consumers can be seriously harmed by these fake products: ICCE members have received reports of counterfeit cartridges containing petroleum. If used, they would cause a printer to explode with potentially severe consequences for the user.  

ICCE stands ready to engage constructively with both governments and urges the U.S. and UK during the negotiation process to consider the challenges that consumers anprinting supply manufacturers face in the online environment. 

About the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa 

The Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE) was formed in 1997 as a direct response to the increase in counterfeit imaging consumables across the regions of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Imaging consumables include toners, ink cartridges and ribbons.  

Initially formed as an industry association to educate, lobby, exchange information and raise awareness, ICCE has evolved to coordinate receiving and processing intelligence information on counterfeiters, initiating joint industry raids and enforcement activities and helping its members to target counterfeiters through the criminal and civil courts. 




[1] ICCE includes the following members: Brother, Canon, Epson, HP Inc, Kyocera, Lexmark, OKI, Printronix, Ricoh and Xerox. HP Inc also represents Samsung toner division. 


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