Joint efforts are made to combat the scourge of counterfeiting and piracy that has become universal; we must act quickly and efficiently especially as “counterfeiters” change their methods and circuits every day. This requires more stringent control methods. It is within this context that the Mediterranean conference on the fight against counterfeiting and piracy was held on Wednesday.
Organized by the European Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Handicrafts, the event provided an opportunity to exchange information regarding the situation in different countries and review the extent of this scourge, in addition to the development of appropriate recommendations to remedy the situation and step up public awareness.
The choice of Tunisia can be explained by the fact that it is the first southern Mediterranean country which has acceded to the free trade zone. “It is an advanced partner and therefore, when it comes to thinking about such kind of concern, it is very important to meet in the region and not always in Europe. The Tunisian initiative aims to strengthen cooperation between these countries in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy, “said Dirk Buda, Senior Advisor to the European Union Delegation in Tunisia in an interview with AfricanManager.
Indeed, an increased interest is taken in the fight against this phenomenon, the aim being to improve the business climate and investment, encourage creation and innovation and promote transparent practices and consumer protection. This phenomenon has grown worldwide and its share in international trade has increased to 10%, he said, noting that counterfeiting is not limited today to branded products, but also involves ordinary consumer products. Regarding the situation in Tunisia, our interlocutor has identified concrete actions implemented by the government to address the phenomenon. In this regard, the involvement of operators is needed. “Operators need to play a more effective role and have a strategy against counterfeiting in their businesses.”Instruments are there, but several questions come to mind: are there enough studies and surveys, are there enough seizures? Is there any consultation with neighboring countries? In this context, I think there’s still plenty of work to do, there are challenges at this level especially that counterfeiting is in full swing across global markets both qualitatively and quantitatively as a result of the opening of markets and globalization of economies in general. There are capacities to develop administratively.”
Regarding prospects of the fight in the medium term, our interviewee said that this scourge continues to evolve. That is why it is important to establish a dialogue with Asian countries as a major source of this phenomenon but also with other emerging countries like India. For her part, Mrs. Karima Farah, a representative of the Moroccan Office of Industrial Property and Trade said that Morocco as a country that has signed a series of international conventions and a set of free trade agreements, particularly with Tunisia, Turkey and the EU try to work together to harmonize procedures to fight against this scourge and protect industrial and intellectual property. Could we consider a harmonized Maghreb law, similar to the one existing in Europe, a law governing the trademark right in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg? Mrs. Karima said that the Maghreb countries have implemented laws that adapt to international standards. In addition, Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian regulations have many similarities, and these countries have a common interest in fighting against counterfeiting. It is doubtful however that the agreement between these States, especially between Morocco and Algeria, is such that a project of this type can be created. Through the foregoing, we find that counterfeiting is an open site. Efforts should continue and all sides should work together to eradicate this phenomenon