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Law enforcement: the role of the Customs Agency

The central role of the Customs and Monopolies Agency is the result of its exclusive competence in the management of the phase when goods are declared to customs and then, where appropriate, subjected to controls for the entry into or the exit from the customs territory of the Union.

In addition to administrative activities, the Italian customs officers also perform judicial and tax police functions; they

  • protect the EU internal market against the import of counterfeit goods from third countries entering through the Italian customs territory;
  • operate in customs areas by detaining suspected infringing goods in order to verify the authenticity of the products and to protect right-holders;
  • carry out investigations all over the territory on behalf of the judicial authority, by means of inspections and seizures of the goods and of post-clearance checks by accessing the commercial premises of companies, as required by the Customs Code and national legislation.

Counterfeiting is linked, as is well known, to international organised crime networks benefiting from the proceeds of counterfeiting.

Prevention and law enforcement activities are therefore carried out thanks to the coordination between Authorities and Public Bodies at international (WCO, EUROPOL), European (EU Council, EU Commission and OLAF) and national level (inter alia, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of the Interior, Police Forces, Judicial Authority, Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policies, Ministry of Cultural Heritage), to ensure the exchange of information, knowledge, initiatives and, above all, legal and operational cooperation for an effective enforcement action.

Among the areas of intervention in the field of counterfeiting, in the pharmaceutical sector the Agency participates in the national Task Force IMPACT ITALIA, together with A. I. F. A. Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (Italian Medicines Agency), the Comando Carabinieri N.A.S. (Food Law Enforcement Department) and the Ministry of Health, a group responsible for combating pharmaceutical counterfeiting.

Specific Memoranda of understanding signed by the Customs Agency and trade associations of producers and consumers which are most representative of the national economic reality, are aimed at strengthening mutual cooperation and putting in place all useful proposals and actions to increase the effectiveness of the fight against illicit trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.

 

Results achieved by the Customs Agency in 2016

The total number of seizures carried out by the customs offices include both seizures under Reg. 608/2013 and those relating to art. 474 of criminal code (for which action is taken simply on the basis of an expert evaluation by the holder of the right infringed even in the absence of an application for action or if the application has expired).

Categoria TAXUD

Year 2016

 No. pieces

 Assessed value (euro)

 Estimated value (euro)

1) Foodstuff and beverages

176.045

160.136

206.136

   1a) foodstuffs

44.736

8.947

8.947

   1b) alcoholic beverages

112.463

127.245

173.245

   1c) other beverages

18.846

23.944

23.944

2) Body care products

60.116

126.798

145.798

   2a) perfumes and cosmetics

51.289

34.884

53.884

   2b) other body care products

8.827

91.914

91.914

3) Clothing and apparels

175.182

2.677.641

3.705.722

   3a) clothing

89.038

2.240.659

2.474.577

   3b) apparels

86.144

436.982

1.231.145

4) Footwear or parts thereof

187.859

1.050.170

1.421.339

   4a) sport shoes

35.737

789.995

807.499

   4b) other footwear

152.122

260.175

613.840

5) Personal accessories

122.716

2.202.859

3.954.080

   5a) sunglasses and spectacles

7.173

76.349

118.866

   5b) bags

54.090

803.031

2.425.936

   5c) watches

7.212

1.026.247

1.109.850

   5d) jewellery and other accessories

54.241

297.232

299.428

6) Mobile phones and their parts

117.765

1.549.013

1.657.746

   6a) mobile phones

2.569

413.037

437.493

   6b) parts and accessories

115.196

1.135.976

1.220.253

7) Electronic and IT devices

218.062

917.105

1.593.063

   7a) audio-visual devices and their parts

12.546

202.439

701.419

   7b) memory cards, memory sticks

38.456

128.024

175.368

   7c) printer cartridges and toner

0

0

0

   7d) IT devices and their parts

5.756

33.378

57.758

   7e) other devices and their parts

161.304

553.264

658.518

8) CD,DVD, cassettes, game cartridges

674

1.574

31.100

   8a) recorded

674

1.574

31.100

   8b) not recorded

 

 

 

9) Sports goods, games and toys

345.380

1.338.824

2.597.770

   9a) toys

343.203

1.277.355

2.528.829

   9b) games

400

12.000

12.000

   9c) sports goods

1.777

49.469

56.941

10) Tobacco

43.857

175.361

175.595

   10a) cigarettes

43.857

175.361

175.595

   10b) other tobacco products

 

 

 

11) Medicines

459

184.775

184.775

12) Other goods

784.334

733.937

894.982

   12a) machinery and tools

8.203

33.123

54.199

   12b) vehicles and their parts

3.001

55.113

71.335

   12c) stationery

122

309

412

   12d) lighters

0

0

0

   12e) labels, tags, stickers, buttons

597.869

433.875

439.210

   12f) textile products

801

13.605

13.805

   12g) packaging materials

136.824

27.983

76.185

   12h) other

37.514

169.929

239.836

Total counterfeiting

2.232.449

11.118.193

16.568.106

       

Source: Antifraud Database and direct contacts with Regional, Interregional and Interprovincial Directorates and Local Offices

 

Results achieved by EU Member States in the fight against counterfeiting in 2016

The European Commission report on the fight against counterfeiting and the infringements of property rights shows, inter alia, that:

  • China continues to be the main source country from where counterfeit products are shipped to the EU for(80%), followed by Hong Kong, Vietnam, Pakistan and Cambodia;
  • Cigarettes remain at the top of the list of detained articles (24%), followed by toys (17%) and foodstuff (13%),

 

Press releases on seizures