Monday, February 6, 2012

Indonesia’s missing Customs regulation

Under the TRIPS agreement article 51 et seq, WTO members were to put in place an IP border protection system to seize and detain imported counterfeit goods. Indonesia’s 1996 Customs law did contain provisions relating to seizure of imported fakes, but specified that a government regulation would contain more details. As a result, Customs could not actually make seizures.

Occasional calls would be received from Jakarta Cengkareng airport about small consignments, but these would typically be too small to be of any interest. The World Customs Organization arranged training for Customs in 2001. Still no regulation appeared. Sporadic lobbying, and US Special 301 complaints got nowhere. Meanwhile fake imports of electronics, car parts etc mainly from China grew.

In 2006 the Customs law was revised, and the provisions on IP border protection maintained, still specified to be subject to implementing regulations. IP holders and IP consultants had all but given up hope. After all, around ASEAN, Customs was not exactly a roaring IP success. Malaysia and to a lesser degree Thailand had something going, but Philippines and Vietnam’s IP border protection systems barely operate. And with the China ASEAN free trade agreement starting in 2010 there was talk of customs IP border protection being a barrier to imports from China. Notwithstanding that by now most fakes were imported from China.

IP Komodo was surprised then to hear, 15 years after first announcement that a team would be put together to draft the customs regulation in 2012. He hopes it doesn’t take them another 15 years.

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