Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Philippines Customs inland focus

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Another Philippines Customs raid illustrates the usual worry around Customs border activity.

A statement by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) of the Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC) indicated that they had seized an estimated Php 105 million worth of smuggled imported counterfeit goods in three warehouses in Manila last week. CIIS Director Neil Anthony Estrella said the fake goods  were all from China. They were stored in various storage rooms inside Dagupan Center at 1331 Dagupan Street, Tondo. The seized items included boxes of Rexona sachet deodorants, Safeguard soaps, Bulldog super glue, insect spray; baby diapers, Spalding basketballs, mosquito coils, lighters, Mongol pencils; toothbrushes, steel scrubs, spools and rain coats. He reported that the raid was a result of a three-month long covert watch and vigorous surveillance on the target based on a tip by legitimate brand owners.

The concern is that the BOC’s main interest is in headlines. These goods were not seized at the border. They were not goods recorded by concerned IP holders with Customs hoping to seize fake imports before they enter into Metro Manila. It was an opportunistic seizure from a distributor; in effect this was a police type raid on goods already in circulation. Whilst they may try to prosecute the operators for smuggling, (although they have long since vanished), the fact is the offence occurred previously when the goods were imported. Announcing raids like this as major successes underlines that Customs are not focused enough on the ports, on IP holders with recorded brands and on truly tackling the massive Chinese fake import problem with shipment risk assessment techniques designed to tackle the real issue.

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