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GAC accelerates IPR protection efforts

Updated: Apr 27, 2021 By ZHONG NAN China Daily Print
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The booth introducing intellectual property rights protection at the trade in service fair in Beijing, on Sept 9, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The General Administration of Customs will fortify the teamwork on the protection of intellectual property rights, or IPR, with Customs authorities of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership's participating countries this year to create a sound trade and business environment in the region, a Customs official said on Monday.

With a view to accelerating the RCEP agreement and putting it into force as early as possible, and supporting an open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading regime, the administration will accelerate the negotiation pace and consensus-building on the contents of the IPR protection regime with Customs authorities of other RCEP members in the next stage, said Jin Hai, director-general of the GAC's department of general operations.

The GAC will enhance services for China's export-oriented companies with independent innovation ability and help them tailor their plans for IPR protection, the official said, adding the administration has continued to update its system of corporate liaison officers for the IPR protection of domestic companies.

The intellectual property chapter of the RCEP agreement provides a balanced and inclusive approach for the protection and enforcement of IPR in the region, he said.

Besides featuring provisions relating to harmonizing the protection for the standard suite of IPR, it provides for IPR protection beyond the level of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, including provisions relating to technological protection measures and enforcement in the digital environment and penalties against unauthorized copying of a cinematographic work on a commercial scale.

To support IPR holders, the chapter also includes provisions to streamline and align procedures for the establishment of certain IPRs, such as those relating to electronic filing of applications and making relevant information available online, he said.

In addition to supporting the RCEP, the GAC will reinforce its law enforcement cooperation on the IPR protection with Customs authorities of economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative, the United States, Russia, Japan and the Republic of Korea this year, as well as actively participate in the activities launched by the WTO, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the International Criminal Police Organization to further improve both China's and the world business environment.

China's Customs authorities seized 12,885 batches of products suspected of IPR infringement in the first quarter of this year, detaining 13.33 million items, data from the GAC showed.

They initiated 65,300 actions to protect IPR of exported and imported products last year. A total of 61,900 batches of goods suspected of IPR infringement were seized last year, involving 56.18 million items.

They are part of the government's campaign to take firm action against the smuggling of illegal products to protect the image of "Made in China "products internationally, he said, adding Customs branches across China will further enhance the crackdown on third-parties involved in illegal transshipment acts in violation of IPR protection rules, form a regional law enforcement network with other trading partners and effectively prevent illegal activities in the port areas this year.

For the healthy growth of the e-commerce sector, the GAC will continue to fight against internet-related IPR infringements by working with e-commerce platforms and applying integrated online and offline supervision measures.

Zhang Shaogang, vice-chairman of the Beijing-based China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said once the RCEP agreement takes effect, market access would be expanded and investment hurdles would be mitigated. These moves would release enormous potential and further promote intraregional trade and investment flows.

Therefore, all RCEP member economies should combine resource endowments and comparative advantages among members, optimize and harmonize regional trade and economic rules, facilitate innovation and integration of regional industries, as well as upgrade and restructure the industrial and supply chains, he said.

Zhang also called on members to develop the RCEP as a service platform and actively help companies create new markets and expand business in member countries.

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