MEDIA RELEASE

13 OCTOBER 2016: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is pleased to announce the formation of AUSCAP (Australians to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy), a coalition of industry groups, businesses and trademark owners working to stop the illegal trade in consumer goods.

ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, said AUSCAP was formed because businesses are seeking protection of their goods and intellectual property, while consumers need to be protection from counterfeit and fake goods.

“AUSCAP is bringing business together as a united front to engage with State and Federal government,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Today, Australia has been recognised by the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit as the best country in Asia with respect to its illicit trade environment.”

“The EIU has identified that Australia has one of the leading intellectual property and customs environments in the world.  The Government, especially the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, deserve credit for their insight in establishing the Australian Border Force (ABF) as an agency with a holistic perspective and powers across the border continuum.  ABF Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg has led the organisation through a successful merger and is now delivering results.”

“Against these high scores, Australia performed lower on transparency and trade score, including availability of track and trade services, and perception of the level of genuine engagement with stakeholders.  The commitment of the Government through the Border Force Industry Summit to be held again later this month and Industry Engagement Strategies released last year are a very positive step in this regard.  Implementation of the measures agreed will be key going forward.”

“Australia’s demand for illicit products and law enforcement barriers across our Federal system also drag down our result on this measure, with much emphasis on action by Commonwealth authorities. However, resource-stretched state and territory policy and consumer affairs bodies also have an important role.”

“Infringements to IP rights, in particular wide scale counterfeiting and piracy, now impact virtually every product category. The days when only luxury goods were counterfeited, or when unauthorised music CDs and movie DVDs were sold only on street corners are long past. Today, counterfeiters are producing fake foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals, electronics and electrical supplies, auto parts and everyday household products. Copyright pirates have also created multi-million dollar networks to produce, transport and sell their unauthorised copies of music, video and software.

Newsworthy examples in Australia include the seizure by Customs of 40-tonnes of counterfeit Omo laundry powder from China in terms of volume, and with respect to the sophistication of counterfeiters, the counterfeiting alleged in the case of the MAC Cosmetics.  Most concerning, the dangers of such goods received rare national attention when Sheryl Anne Aldeguer died after being electrocuted by faulty non-compliant goods, serving as a tragic warning of the need to address these issues as a priority.”

AUSCAP will lead a delegation of members and concerned businesses to Canberra later this year to discuss how Australia can continue to improve on its region-leading illicit trade environment.

About Australians to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (AUSCAP):

AUSCAP is a newly formed business coalition against illegal consumer goods established to facilitate a broad Business-to-Government and Government-to-Business engagement with respect to criminal conduct impacting business, focusing on crimes such as trademark infringement and smuggling which impact the value of IP rights to its owners.  Counterfeit and pirated goods also represent a danger to consumers, who are at risk from fake products which often do not meet safety standards.  AUSCAP is seeking to affiliate with BASCAP (bascap.com, part of the International Chamber of Commerce) to leverage their global research on addressing issues across the supply chain locally, such as the role of Free Trade Zones and intermediaries in facilitating illicit trade.

Further information regarding AUSCAP can be accessed at http://stopillegaltrade.com/.

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For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call: The ARA Media Line T: 0439 612 556  E:media@retail.org.au

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $300 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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