Technical Cooperation Activities under TRIPS Art. 67. - View details of the document

World Customs Organization (WCO)


Introduction1  Overview of World Customs Organization (WCO) activities and tools of relevance to the TRIPS Agreement

              1. The intellectual property rights (IPR), Health and Safety Programme of the WCO maintains its resolve to protect consumer health and safety, and continues to combat counterfeiting and piracy through a variety of activities described in the following paragraphs. The WCO experience in this field is in line with the other international organisations working in the field of IPR enforcement. There seems to be a shift of the modus operandi towards the use of small consignments thus reducing the numbers of large seizures, but there does not seem to be any significant fall in the number of counterfeits traded globally. The WCO's main activity is to raise awareness about Customs work in this area either towards other international organisations or by promoting capacity building activities for our member Administrations. The capacity building consists of two factors; training through workshops and education and training through operational activities. A list of the WCO activities is attached in the Annex I.

1.1  Operations

              1. The WCO organizes simultaneous enforcement activities with multiple Customs administrations. These operations are aimed at knowing the scale of global counterfeiting whilst providing participating Customs officers with hands-on experience. Operations, which quantify and qualify the impact of counterfeit activities, can also serve as an excellent opportunity to strengthen Customs' enforcement capacity. Participating Members are able to learn about practical border enforcement measures through our Accredited Experts and gain hands-on experience using WCO tools, such as CENcomm.
              2. Between October 2018 and September 2019, the WCO, in partnership with Interpol and Europol and health authorities, co-organised a large-scale operation, the global operation PANGEA against pharmaceutical products sold online. Last year's 11th operation was held in October 2018, involving police, customs and health regulatory authorities from a record 116 countries. Operation Pangea XI results in 859 arrests worldwide and the seizure of USD 14 million worth of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.
              3. The impact of such a substantial level of interventions around the world sends a strong message both to offenders and the general public.

1.2  National/Regional seminars

              1. The WCO delivers extensive capacity building activities, mainly in the form of legislative training, document targeting training and product identification training, with private sector cooperations. But the organisation also performs diagnostic missions. In the diagnostic missions, WCO experts visit the country and assess the Customs administrations capabilities in the domain of fighting counterfeits. The evaluation includes both the legal base and practical and procedural arrangements, and leads to a recommendation from WCO. Between October 2018 and September 2019, the WCO conducted several training seminars/workshops for officers from a number of WCO Member administrations.

1.3  Counterfeit and Piracy Group (CAP) meeting

              1. The annual WCO Counterfeiting and Piracy (CAP) Group meeting provides a forum for Customs and related law enforcement agencies to exchange information, experiences and best practices on combating counterfeiting and piracy. At its 16th Meeting from 30 September to 1 October 2019, Members explored the challenges posed by the Internet and cyber investigations, e-commerce and small consignments but also food and plant varieties were discussed. During this meeting, Members also shared their experiences and exchanged practices on fighting counterfeits.

1.4  E-learning module (CLiCK)

              1. By using the WCO's internet-based e-learning module "CLiCK", Customs officers can acquire practical knowledge on border enforcement related to IPR. They can train themselves on intellectual property (IP) agreements, such as the TRIPS Agreement, and on practical, risk-based document targeting.

List of programmes/projects

Click for more information
# Title of programme or activity Start date Beneficiary Members or observers  
1 National Workshop 12/11/2018 Lao People's Democratic Republic
2 National Workshop 26/11/2018 Myanmar
3 National Workshop 04/12/2018 Cambodia
4 National Workshop 28/01/2019 Ghana
5 National Workshop 01/04/2019
6 Sub-Regional Workshop 25/04/2019 Costa Rica; Cuba; El Salvador; Honduras; Panama
7 Benchmark Study 07/05/2019 Burundi; Kenya; Rwanda; Tanzania; Uganda
8 Benchmark Study 13/05/2019 Burundi; Kenya; Rwanda; Tanzania; Uganda
9 Accreditation Workshop 27/05/2019 Australia; Hong Kong, China; India; Japan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Viet Nam
10 National Workshop 17/06/2019 Senegal
11 National Workshop 26/06/2019 Armenia