BOC seizes fake designer bags, apparels

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

TWO shipments of counterfeit goods composed of "Class A" bags and branded clothing worth at least P200 million were apprehended by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) on Thursday.

The first shipment, a 20-foot container van that arrived from China last March, was consigned to Bangladesh Business Corporation and was declared as unbranded T-shirts, cargo short pants, leggings and plastic slippers. But physical examination revealed almost 5,000 pieces of faked apparel labeled with brands such as "Nike," "Adidas," "US Polo," "Lee," "Aeropostale" and "H&M."

The cargo was a subject of an Alert Order from the BOC's Enforcement Group and the entire contents examined last week.

The other shipment, a 40-foot container that arrived last May from China, was consigned to NSGV Trading and was declared to contain assorted women's blouses, polyester cotton fabric, polyester women's pants, jackets, coats and scarves, board paper, ladies' canvas shoes, PVC flooring, assorted plastic cases, belts and caps, and skateboards.

However, the proprietor of the said firm denied ownership of the shipment, prompting customs authorities to subject the shipment to an Alert Order and subsequent 100 percent inspection.

Physical examination found over 15,960 assorted undeclared items, many of which were counterfeit or "Class A" luxury bag models like the "Hermes Evelyne" and "Hermes Lindy", "Ralph Lauren Ricky", "Tory Burch Ella" tote, "Prada Saffiano Lux" tote, "Celine Phantom", "Michael Kors Selma" satchel and "Michael Kors Jet Set" tote and the "Burberry Susana" hobo tote.

Also found were fake "Fitflop Fleur" sandals' "Lacoste" wallets and tote bags, "Ray-Ban" eyewear, as well as clothing and footwear bearing local brands "Onesimus" and "Una Rosa".

Willie Tolentino, director of the bureau's Enforcement and Security Service, said that both shipments will be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings, after which the seized fake goods will be destroyed.

"Commissioner Sevilla has directed us to take the issue of the entry of goods that violate intellectual property rights more seriously. It is not about the value of the actual goods in question here, but the negative impact of counterfeit goods to legitimate businesses in the country," he said in a statement.

Customs authorities have also coordinated with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines so alert the brand owners.

The consignees and their customs brokers are also under investigation for smuggling-related cases as well as violation of Republic Act (RA) 8293, or the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of the Philippines.

From January to June 2014, the inter-agency National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR), which includes the BOC, seized counterfeit products worth over P6.8-billion.

Last April, intensified efforts against the proliferation of fake goods prompted the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to remove the Philippines from the Special 301 Watch List, an annual report of countries with weak enforcement and observance of intellectual property laws, after nearly 20 years of being on it. (FP/Sunnex)

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