Customs seize over J$250m in counterfeit goods

Monday, July 27, 2015

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) confiscated over J$250 million worth of counterfeit goods at the island’s ports of entry between January 2014 and April 2015.
Commissioner of Customs and JCA Chief Executive Officer, Major (Ret’d) Richard Reese, said that the items include: over 20,000 pairs of footwear valued at approximately $80 million; 1, 920 bottles of perfume, fragrances, and toilet water, valued $3.84 million; 200 handbags, valued at $2.1 million; 80 pieces of clothing costing $49 million; and approximately four million sticks of cigarette, valued at $120 million.
Other items include over 3,000 handbags; 18,000 pieces of assorted clothing; 1,000 belts; 5, 200 hats; and over 11,000 disposable razors, as well as pharmaceuticals.
Some of the products were intended for the local market, while others were destined for other countries.
Major Reese was speaking at Monday’s opening ceremony for the JCA’s five-day intellectual property rights training seminar for 28 custom officers, at the Port Authority of Jamaica’s Pilotage Building, Newport East, Kingston.
Director in the JCA’s Border Protection Unit, Kalista Powell, who also spoke at the seminar, said the containers bearing the counterfeit products were intercepted following intelligence and joint inter-agency operations, which involved local and overseas law enforcement entities.
Powell advised that a significant portion of the items, which were  forfeited by the owners, were destroyed in April, while investigations are underway in relation to the others. “Persons have been charged and court proceedings are ongoing,” she informed.
In hailing the success of the operations, Major Reese underscored that counterfeiting and piracy of authentic products are “illicit businesses on which criminal networks thrive.”
“This is one of the means by which organised crime criminal networks also fund their illegal activities. The Jamaica Customs Agency will continue to collaborate with our partners, local and international, as we make every effort to remove the profit from organisd crime and facilitate legitimate trade,” he said.
Powell also underscored the need for joint efforts to curb counterfeiting, pointing out that “we, in the Jamaica Customs Agency, welcome and look forward to the continued (stakeholder) support.”
Under Jamaican laws, the penalties for counterfeiting products, whether for manufacturing or trade, include forfeiture of goods, fines, or imprisonment.
The seminar, which runs from July 27 to 31, is being staged in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO) under the theme: ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy.’



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