DUBAI // The number of counterfeit products being shipped from the Emirates to the EU dropped to almost nil last year.
In 2010, fake goods that originated from the UAE made up only 0.66 per cent of all confiscated articles.
By contrast, 15 per cent of all shipments seized the previous year arrived from the Emirates.
"Increased investment in border security and training is the main reason behind the significant drop," said Ahmed Butti, the director general of Dubai Customs.
More than €1 billion (Dh5.2bn) worth of goods were seized by authorities in Europe in 2010. Shipments from the UAE accounted for 1.79 per cent of the total, or Dh9.3m.
The biggest improvement was in counterfeit medical products.
The UAE was the last port of call before arriving in Europe for almost three-quarters of such items in 2009. The number of fake medical supplies arriving via the Emirates jumped from about 750,000 in 2008 to almost 5.5million in 2009.
Last year, India was the point of origin for 93 per cent of all fake medical items, followed by China and Hong Kong.
The European Commission's Taxation and Customs Union released the latest figures in the Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights 2010 report last month.
"Since 2008, a major shift in the approach to intellectual property rights violations has been conducted at Dubai Customs," Mr Butti said. An intelligence unit had worked more closely with foreign law enforcement to exchange information, he said.
Last year, the number of intellectual property rights cases in Dubai rose by 75 per cent, and 689 seizures were made at land, sea and air customs entries, according to Ahmed Mahboub Musabih, the executive director of the client management division at Dubai Customs.
In 2009, there were only 393 seizures.
“Dubai Customs combats counterfeiting and piracy by relying on a highly qualified national inspectors cadre. For the first quarter of 2011, 148 seizures were registered as compared with 151 seizures in the first quarter of 2010,” Mr Musabih said.
Brig Gen Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, the director of Dubai Police CID, said last week that since the beginning of 2011, 139 intellectual property rights violation cases were registered in Dubai, leading to the indictment of 187 people.
Items worth Dh72.3m have been seized, eclipsing 2010’s Dh56m in seizures.
Products that do not originate in the UAE were harder to spot, officials said.
Most counterfeit goods transported via Dubai to Europe were not inspected because of international laws, Mr Butti explained.
“We cannot search any shipments that are not destined for the emirate unless we receive information that states the vessel is carrying counterfeit items,” he said.
EU Customs seized more than 103 million products in 2010 suspected of violating intellectual property rights at the EU’s external borders.
The number of shipments stopped nearly doubled compared with the previous year, rising from 43,500 in 2009 to almost 80,000 in 2010.
The top categories of articles stopped by customs were cigarettes, at 34 per cent; office supplies at 9 per cent; other tobacco products at 8 per cent; labels, tags and emblems at 8 per cent; clothing at 7 per cent; and toys, also at 7 per cent.
The UAE registered third in counterfeit clothing, after China and Turkey, with 3 three per cent of all clothing products originating here.
It also registered third behind China and Hong Kong, with 8.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively of all counterfeit mobile phones and mobile phone spare parts shipped into Europe.