The Australian Retailers Association has announced the formation of a coalition of industry groups, businesses and trademark owners working to stop the illegal trade in consumer goods – Australians to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (AUSCAP).
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said AUSCAP was formed because businesses are seeking protection of their goods and intellectual property, while consumers need to be protected from counterfeit and fake goods.
“Today, Australia has been recognised by the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit as the best country in Asia with respect to its illicit trade environment,” he said. “The EIU has identified that Australia has one of the leading intellectual-property and customs environments in the world. The Government, especially the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, deserve credit for their insight in establishing the Australian Border Force as an agency with a holistic perspective and powers across the border continuum.”
However, Mr Zimmerman pointed to Australian’s relatively poor performance in its transparency and trade scores as areas that could be improved.
“Australia’s demand for illicit products and law-enforcement barriers across our federal system also drag down our result on this measure, with much emphasis on action by Commonwealth authorities,” he said.
“However, resource-stretched state and territory policy and consumer-affairs bodies also have an important role. Infringements to IP rights, in particular, wide-scale counterfeiting and piracy, now impact virtually every product category.”
Some notable recent examples of this in Australia, Mr Zimmerman said, included the Customs seizure of 40 tonnes of counterfeit Omo laundry powder from China and counterfeiting alleged in the case of MAC Cosmetics.
AUSCAP will lead a delegation of members and concerned businesses to Canberra later this year to discuss how Australia can continue to improve on its region-leading illicit trade environment.