193. The representative of Australia welcomed the US initiative to exchange information about securing supply chains against counterfeit goods at the Council and the submissions on IP enforcement. The papers provided a useful exchange of information that could help in the fight against eliminating counterfeits from the global supply chain. As for many countries, counterfeit goods were a serious concern for Australia. The number of illicit goods detected at the border had increased in recent years in line with higher imports of consumer goods. Australian customs and border protection services had seized over 850,000 counterfeit items in 2011 with a potential retail value in the tens of millions of dollars. He said that it was important to recognize that counterfeit goods impacted negatively on all Members, including net importers of IP such as Australia.
194. In Australia, enforcement measures were not just about protecting IP right holders, they were also about protecting consumers. Counterfeiting not only affected luxury brands and goods - everyday household goods were now also routinely being counterfeited. For example, Australia's Customs and Border Protection Service had seized large quantities of counterfeit washing powder, facial soaps, toothpaste, beer, ghee, frozen vegetables and shaving razors. As the US paper noted, many counterfeit goods were substandard in quality and had the potential to cause physical harm. By way of illustration, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service had seized counterfeit beer contaminated with foreign matter and mould, electric hair straighteners that melted when turned on, and mobile phone batteries that did not contain fuses to prevent them from overheating. His delegation was aware of reports from around the world of serious harm, including death, resulting from the use or consumption of counterfeit products, underlining the risks counterfeit goods pose to consumers in all countries.