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WCO Headquarters

Brussels, Belgium

The First Global Congress to Combat Counterfeiting was held at WCO Headquarters in Brussels, 25 - 26 May, 2004.


The World Customs Organisation and Interpol, with the support and participation of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, hosted the First Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting. The congress was held in co-operation with the Global Business Leaders Alliance Against Counterfeiting (GBLAAC), the International Trademark Association (INTA), the International Security Management Association (ISMA) and some member companies of the World Customs Organisation's IPR Strategic Group (WCOIPR).

The purpose of the congress was to develop a collective understanding of the extent of the counterfeit problem, identify effective measures of governments and the private sector in anti-counterfeiting and work, generate ideas for further co-operation and begin to identify solutions that will make a real difference in the coming decade.

There was an urgent need for such a global congress. The worldwide trade in counterfeit products is increasing dramatically in size and scope, and it is increasingly controlled by organised criminal networks. Counterfeiting now represents real threats to global security, consumer health and safety, economic development and good governance.

The congress provided an opportunity for leaders from the public and private sectors to analyze the social and economic impact of counterfeiting and shape future enforcement strategies and actions.The programme was organised as a high-level, interactive event. It included keynote addresses, plenary sessions and roundtables structured in a way that helped generate constructive debate and, ultimately, concrete recommendations on new methods and initiatives for addressing counterfeiting at the national, regional and global levels. The congress intended to provide the foundations for more effective co-operation and communication among governments, inter-overnmental organisations and industry.

Discussions focused on the following:

  • Developing a consensus on the full dimensions and related costs of counterfeiting to consumers, governments and industry.
  • Developing common understandings of the prevailing attitudes of governments, the private sector and consumers towards counterfeiting.
  • Generating common understandings of what is being done and what more needs to be done in the fight against counterfeiting.
  • Examining and understanding current international instruments for co-operation among governments in enforcement work, and identifying enhancements required for strengthening enforcement efforts.