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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
EU and US join up to fight fakes
Chinese officials seizing pirated music
Fake DVDs and music CDs are just two example of fake goods in China
The European Union and the US have launched a joint programme to stop the spread of global counterfeiting.

The plan, the first of its kind between the two trading powers, is expected to be endorsed at a joint summit in Vienna on 21 June.

Under its terms, there will be closer co-operation to strengthen border controls and special teams of embassy staff to spy on counterfeiters.

The main focus of the initiative will be fake goods made in China and Russia.

Paul Walsh, of the London intellectual property firm Bristows, said that another of the current counterfeiting hot-spots for Europe is Turkey.

Booming trade

One of the points of the EU-US programme is to get the authorities in emerging markets to better enforce their own intellectual property laws.

Mr Walsh said it hoped "to persuade the Chinese to clean up their act and to bring diplomatic pressure on that front".

According to EU statistics, the problem of fake goods being imported into the EU has grown rapidly over the past few years, and involves rather more than just knocked-off luxury goods like handbags.

The EU calculates that the number of fake goods seized at EU borders rose ten-fold between 1998 and 2004 to more than 103 million items.

And the trade now encompasses almost any type of manufactured goods, ranging from airplane parts to toys.

It has been estimated that 10% of all the medicines traded globally are counterfeit, with 800,000 such items seized at EU borders alone last year.

In the majority of these cases, most of the fake drugs were en-route to poorer countries outside of Europe.

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