UAE comes off US watchlist for sale of counterfeit goods

The decision followed a series of campaigns to crack down on criminal enterprise

The UAE has been taken off the US intellectual property protection (IPP) watchlist following campaigns to tackle the sale of counterfeit goods.

The decision was made by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

In April, Dubai Customs seized and recycled counterfeit goods worth Dh1 million ($272,000), including designer bags, watches, gloves and glasses.

More than 300,000 bogus filters, spark plugs and other engine parts were seized by officials in 2020.

It is our intention to build on this positive result and continue to strengthen and reinforce rigorous IPP rights across the UAE

Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State

The decision was welcomed by UAE authorities.

"The USTR’s decision is encouraging news," said Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State.

"Over the last year, we have worked hard to strengthen the UAE’s IPP framework in many important ways.

"This decision is an endorsement of our progress.

"The UAE is committed to implementing robust IPP regulatory standards, including having an infringement and enforcement framework that upholds these standards."

Protecting US inventors

The USTR’s Special 301 Report puts a spotlight on foreign countries that fail to provide adequate and effective IP protection for US inventors, creators, brands, manufacturers, and service providers.

This year's report highlighted several measures taken by the UAE to improve its national systems.

These included efforts made by the Ministry of Health and Prevention to resolve concerns surrounding the IP protection of pharmaceutical products, and the role of Dubai Customs in clamping down on the import of counterfeit products.

The measures taken by Ajman Department of Economic Development to reduce the availability of counterfeit goods at the Ajman China Mall was also noted.

Over the past few years, the UAE has intensified inspection campaigns and now uses blockchain technology to prevent fraud and counterfeiting.

The UAE also signed several international treaties for the protection of copyright work, including the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement.

The work to protect IPP is continuing, said Mr Al Sayegh.

"It is our intention to build on this positive result and continue to strengthen and reinforce rigorous IPP rights across the UAE.

"We firmly believe that the process of creating and commercialising IP enriches society and drives economic growth."

Updated: May 23, 2021 02:41 PM

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