BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese customs has been an important player in protecting intellectual property rights (IPR), taking a firm hand against smuggling of illegal products, a customs official said Tuesday.
In 2015, China started a three-year campaign to protect the image of "made-in-China" products internationally, with a focus on products exported to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and countries along the Belt and Road.
More than 43,000 batches of goods suspected of IPR infringement have been seized during the campaign, involving more than 81 million individual items, Zou Zhiwu, deputy head of the General Administration of Customs (GAC), told Xinhua.
IPR infringement in the imported products have been rising at around 10 percent a year. In 2016 alone, Chinese authorities seized 670 batches of illegal goods, including fake lubricants imported from Malaysia.
For the healthy growth of the e-commerce sector, the GAC has acted on Internet-related IPR infringements by joining with e-commerce platforms and integrating online and offline supervision, he said.
In 2016, customs authorities streamlined the procedures for file for IPR and suspended charges, resulting in 8,844 IPR filings last year, up 55 percent year on year.
Chinese companies are becoming more aware of IPR protection and had filed 27,873 IPR with GAC by the end of last year, accounting for 52.51 percent of all IPR on record, Zou said.
Chinese companies are also victims of IPR infringements.
Customs seized 7.58 million pieces of goods suspected of infringing the IPR of Chinese companies in 2016, up 13.2 percent from the previous year.
Last year, GAC took measures on 12 IPR protection cases in which IPR of Chinese companies were infringed upon, up from 4 cases in 2015.
As IPR infringement in foreign trade is an international issue, China has advocated cooperation in law enforcement of customs authorities from different countries and regions.
Zou said GAC had established cooperation mechanisms with customs of more than 130 countries and regions and signed over 190 cooperation documents, including memos with the Unites States, the EU, Russia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The country has also taken an active part in IPR-related affairs under multilateral frameworks, including World Intellectual Property Organization and World Customs Organization.
Looking ahead, Zou said GAC will continue to take strict measures on IPR infringement, enhance cooperation with other government departments, and deepen law enforcement collaboration with other countries and organizations.